Saturday, August 20, 2011
As I think about the good, the bad and the ugly in my story, I see the good as the blessings of God, the bad as the trials and sufferings I've experienced from those who have sinned against me as well as just because that is how life on this side of eternity. But the ugly . . . the ugly is how I have sinned against others, the parts of me I avoid looking at because, well, they are UGLY! Attached to the ugliness is much shame and condemnation, so not only do I unconsciously avoid going there, I realize that I've buried my uglies deep in my soul. Yet because they are still there, a part of me, the pride part of me, has to prove to myself "I'm really not THAT bad" and so I choose to focus on my goodness and wind up hiding a part of my story that God wants to heal.
So God begins to put his Holy Spirit spotlight on the basement of my soul to focus on my ugly . . . and it hurts and feels so shameful I want to hide even deeper in my darkness. Then by His every so gentle grace, He reminds me, "Confess your sins to one another and be healed." (James 5:16) He offers me healing, NOT condemnation, but mercy. The catch is I have to reveal my ugly to another, risk being vulnerable and rejected, bring the dark into the light, to receive the healing. God in His gentleness reminds me that He allowed His Son to experience and suffer MY shame on the cross so I wouldn't have to. He invites me to confess so I can be healed and free of the condemnation that holds me captive. That what awaits me is not what the Accuser speaks, rejection, but freedom, freedom from my false self which tries to prove I'm okay without God and looks to other 'things' to meet a need that only He can fill. Freedom to live into my true self, that person God originally created me to be in union with Him.
As I confess my sin to another trusted friend who loves me, all of me, the good, the bad and the ugly, I receive the healing that dissolves the shame and bring an overwhelming gratefulness to God for His extravagant love toward this sinner turned saint, not though my efforts but through His amazing grace.
I'm reminded of the story Jesus told abut the woman who had been forgiven much, loved much. (Luke 7:47). Because my sins were so great and God freely and joyfully forgave them and me, it makes my love for Him so much greater. The greater the sin, the greater the debt paid and the greater gratitude and love there is in my heart. If my debt was $1000 and He paid it, I would be grateful. But because my debt felt more like $1,000,000, my grateful love reflects that exponentially.