Every year over Labor Day weekend, a small town in Wisconsin gathers for the World’s Greatest Junk Parade. What started out as a joke between a few men has turned into a celebration of junk vehicles topped with junk decorations—including antlers, toilet seats, and whatever trash people find in their attics.
That got me thinking. Maybe we need a few more personal junk parades. Oh, I’m not talking about celebrating the junk in our lives, but maybe it’s time we stop hiding it.
To start, have a junk parade with Jesus.
Give him all the sins and guilt and junk that you’ve been piling up in the corners of your heart and mind. Otherwise it sits there getting worse. King David, who ruled Israel thousands of years ago, knows what this is like.
He covered up an affair with his friend’s wife by having his friend murdered. He wrote, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:3,5).
David tried hiding his guilt from God. But God already knew what was going on, the same way he knows your secret sins, the ones that make you feel worthless, alone, scared, guilty. Confessing those sins—parading them before God—means that you stop hiding from him and instead get to hear him remind you that, thanks to Jesus who died on a cross to take God’s punishment for all sins and came back to life to defeat death forever, you no longer see yourself as a pile of junk but as a treasure. “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Next, have a junk parade with a friend—when you’ve hurt them.
It’s easy when you’ve said something hurtful or done something sinful to another person to want to ignore it until hopefully everyone forgets about it. (After all, Adam and Eve hid when they knew they sinned against God.) That’s not going to happen. Really, do you simply forget it when people hurt you? Didn’t think so.
Instead in James 5:16, we are told, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Want to be healed? Reach out to the person you hurt and confess, “I’m embarrassed. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”
Then be healed.
Finally, have a junk parade with a friend—when you need support.
This world is full of pain and hurt and mess and weariness. It’s so easy to think you have to slap a smile on and whitewash your heavy burdens. Paul, who lived two thousand years ago, tells us that this isn’t healthy. In fact, the people around us are told to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). I’m not suggesting you broadcast the hurt and pain you’re carrying for everyone to hear, but find a trusted friend (or two or five) to ask for support. That may not make the actual burden go away, but it might make it feel lighter.
What blessings have you found from having a junk parade?
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who has been working more on admitting and confessing—on having a junk parade. It isn’t easy.
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