My son’s toilet overflowed the other day.

As I was running to grab the old towels, I slipped and fell right into the middle of the mess. Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a mess, looking around wondering how you ended up sitting there with wet sweats and soggy slippers?

In my case, the mess was caused by my son's backed-up toilet, and I feared the obstruction was pretty serious judging by the roll-sized clumps of toilet paper lying in soggy piles all around me - not to mention what may have gone before the paper. Ugh!

While considering the probable cause of the toilet's overflow, I was struck by a sense of irony, because this incident came on the heels of recent argument I had with my husband. Leave it to the Lord and His wisdom to arrest me using such vivid imagery! Surrounded by toilet water, I was indisputably in the right place to receive His lesson.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 that "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." Well, the illustration of that truth was certainly becoming clearer from my vantage point on the floor. I was forced to recognize that the overflow of my heart had been equally unpleasant as the one I was now sitting in.

The source of my foul overflow was a violation of Ephesians 4:26-27 which instructs:

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

I had been given ample opportunity prior to our argument to "flush" my anger away, but I waited too long. By the time the next opportunity came along, a "clog" had accumulated in my heart causing an overflow of epic (or should I say septic?) proportions.

Speaking through His word in Proverbs 29:8 and again in 29:11, God reminded me that a wise man turns away anger, and a fool gives vent to it. Verse 22 of the same Proverb says, “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 says it too: “Anger resides in the laps of fools.”

OK. I think I got that. Stirring and venting are off the list.

Anger was in my lap, alright, and when you ignore God's instruction to get "un-angry" before you see the sun set, you’ve set the stage for a big, nasty mess.

Jesus offers a simple way to keep the pipes clear in Matthew 18:15:

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over...

Alternately, if we remember that a brother has something against us, we should go to him and make that right too (i.e., Matthew 5:23-24) - and we should do it before the sun sets.

As I mopped up the mess in my son's bathroom, gagging on the smell, I had a new appreciation of the stench of my own sin from God’s perspective. I took a minute to thank Him, again, for the grace of Christ and the mercy He shows me when my mess overflows.

Still, I was faced with the clean-up of the aftermath my mess created. That’s the inevitable product of our sin: a mess. And you can’t wade around in it pretending it’s not sloshing over your boots.

Our bathroom is clean once again, and my 12-year-old has been reminded of proper paper practices. It’s time for me to go clear my own pipes.

Right after I take another shower.