In her book Throw Out Fifty Things, Gail Blanke outlines four “Rules of Disengagement” to help people clear the clutter from their lives. The first rule states: “If it . . . weighs you down, clogs you up, or just plain makes you feel bad about yourself, throw it out, give it away, sell it, let it go, move on.”

I think this Rule of Disengagement has a spiritual application too: We don’t have to stay connected to past sin. Joseph’s brothers struggled with this. Years after they sold Joseph into slavery, they recalled their cruelty and feared revenge (Gen. 50:15). So they sent a message to Joseph, begging for forgiveness (vv.16-17). They did this despite previous merciful actions and reassurances from their brother (45:4-15).

Many of us remain connected to age-old offenses despite mercy and forgiveness from those we may have hurt. However, true freedom comes when we confess our wrongdoing to God. He forgives it (1 John 1:9) and separates us from it (Ps. 103:12). As one verse puts it, He throws our sin into the depths of the sea! (Micah 7:19). Because of this, we can remind ourselves that the Son has made us free, and we are free indeed (John 8:36).