Summary: We are to forgive as Christ forgave us - forgiving and forgetting - we are not to "dig up bones,"
“Digging Up Bones”*
by the Reverend Bennett Wayne Dean Sr.(The RevChief)
Ps 103: 8-12; Col 3: 12-17
Many of you may be familiar with the song “Digging Up Bones” sung by Randy Travis. It was quite popular in the late eighties as I recall and gets continued exposure in old Matlock reruns. Just in case you don’t remember it - or possibly never heard it, let me play a few verses. (Play portion of CD) How many remember hearing it now?
What’s this man Randy Travis is singing about doing? We’ve just heard it. He’s sitting all alone “digging up bones.” Doesn’t sound like he’s having much fun does it? “Exhuming things that’s better left alone.” Sounds like a fun evening. “Resurrecting memories of a love that’s dead and gone.” How uplifting.
Well, haven’t we all done the same thing more than once - probably many, many times? Oh, we may not have done exactly the same thing - sitting alone at home “digging up bones”, but we’ve all been guilty of “digging up bones” - of “exhuming things that’s better left alone”. Be honest, now. We’ve all done it.
The man comes home after having an unusually hard day at work and the first thing he hears from his wife is “You went off and left your dirty cereal dish on the table this morning. I’m sick and tired of picking up after you!” And what does the man say? “Well when I got up I had to pour out a half full glass of curdled milk (yuk!) you left on the coffee table and didn’t take care of after you finished watching David Letterman last night. And there was one of those biting flies buzzing around it.” To which the lady responds, “Well, if I hadn’t been distracted by having go and turn off the porch light that you forgot, I wouldn’t have forgotten to take care of the milk.” And then he says, “Well two weeks ago I got home from working the graveyard shift and every light in the house was on - and you were still asleep! The children were late for school.” Before this lively discussion reached its unpleasant ending the entire problem had been blamed on a visit by Aunt Bessie in 1978 and the shaggy dog that the husband had when the couple first got married - depending upon which one of the participants you asked, of course. Sound familiar?
What has just happened here? This couple was “digging up bones.” They were “exhuming things that’s better left alone.” The fact that the children were late for school two weeks ago didn’t have anything to do with the dirty cereal bowl being left on the table. And the fact that Buster the dog shed hair all over the new carpet in the late sixties didn’t make Aunt Bessie stay an extra two weeks in ‘78.
No, the couple just started “digging up bones.” We all do it. We shouldn’t, but we do. Or, how about this. A child comes home from school with his report card and Mom says, “How could you have made a “C” in math. Both your sisters made “A’s” when they were in Miss Matthew’s class. If you don’t start working harder, you’ll make another “D” like you did in the second grade. I told your father then you shouldn’t be playing t-ball, but he wouldn’t listen.” “But Mom, that was 8 years ago” the child replies. To which Mom says, “It’s the same thing starting all over. You just are not taking any responsibility anymore. Monday, I asked you to stop at the store on your way home and pick up a loaf of bread and you forgot. Now this report card. When your father gets home, I think we better discuss taking you out of that band you’re in - if you can’t do any better than this.” What has Mom done? That’s right. Mom’s “digging up bones.”
Aren’t you glad that our Savior Christ Jesus doesn’t do that?
I’m reminded of a story I read about a young boy who had grown up in a rural setting not unlike what the area around our church might have been a hundred years ago. Most of the year this young boy had drifted carelessly along, not putting much effort in his school work. But in midwinter some kind words from his teacher roused him to take a new start and he became most distinct a different boy and begin making up for past faults in his work. At the final examination he passed with a high grade to the great joy and pride of his mother and father. At year end the parents were present for the graduation ceremony to the next grade. But the copy-books - some of us may remember copy-books, those books which included all our daily school work - these copy-books used through the year were all laid our on a table for he visitors to look at; and the boy remembered that his copy-book, well done in its latter pages, had been a dreary mass of blots and bad work before. He watched his mother as she began looking over those books and his heart was sick at the disappointment she was about to feel when she saw the poor work he had done in the past. But she seemed, to the boy’s great surprise, quite pleased with what she saw and called his father to look with her. Afterward the young boy rushed over to the table where his copy-books laid and, upon opening them, found that his teacher had thoughtfully and thoroughly torn out all those bad, blotted pages and made his copy-books begin where he had started to do better. To all who would forsake sin, God offers the same - a new chance and promises to blot out all old sin and make the record begin with a new start - a clean slate. 1