If I am honest? Forget about we. This is all about ME. The unadulterated version of me. The (R) rated version of me. The me Jesus sees and shakes His head in despair. The me who has been a follower of Christ for more than 50 years and I still am no more than a teenager in how I behave: You know teens—it is all about me!
Easter is fast approaching and I need it to be different. I love the musicals at church and miss singing with the ensemble and choir I was privileged to be a part of. I love the lilies adorning the sanctuary and the heavy fragrance. I honor those who lie in wait in the cemetery for the resurrection and how we “decorate the graves” this time of year. I love the southern tradition of Easter “parades” complete with hats, frocks, and baskets. But the truth is Easter is NOT about any of this! It is about remembering the price paid for my transgressions, failures, not enoughness, and brokenness.
Jesus paid with His life that I might have abundant life. A life that can be made new. A mind that can be “renewed” and transformed, and a heart that can be changed from bitter, hurt, angry, and undone to one that can love the unlovely unconditionally.
During the past year, the Holy Spirit has held up His mirror and asked me the question: “Whose reflection do you see today?” The answer is SUPPOSE to be “Jesus.” This has not been my answer. My answer on a good day is I see a version of me not the same as it was a year ago. On most days I see just the same old me. Some days, I see the version of me Jesus died for, the enemy’s face looming in the shadows of my reflection. Rarely, have I seen Jesus.
Sigh………………………………The heaviness of sin tangible……………..sorrow……………
Proverbs 23:7 says, “as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” Matthew 15:18 tells us, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Seems the real me has been more obvious to others than myself. Thankfully, the “fear of the LORD (awe, reverence, respect) is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Fortunately, I am not a fool. I am in the school of the LORD and the test has been difficult to take.
I have had teenagers. Three of them lived under my roof and I have coached, taught, and loved teenagers. However, teens can be exasperating! Talking to them is like speaking to a wall. They are standing there, respectfully (?) staring at you, but you KNOW they are not hearing a word you say! What my words were to them were: WONK. WONK, WONK. WONK. WONK, WONK, WONK.! “The light was on but no one was home” as the expression goes. This is evidently what I have done to Jesus. For I read His Word and it makes no impact on my life. Or it hasn’t had as much of an impact as it could have had if I had “received His words and hid His commandments in my heart; if I had cried out for more knowledge and searched for wisdom and understanding.” For if I had, His Word says “he gives wisdom liberally for those who ask” and like Job, I would have seen God!
God’s Word tells us what He loves and what He hates. It is NOT rocket science. It is plain. It is simple. It is straightforward. It is NOT easy.
So what was this daughter’s wake up call? An encounter. An encounter with the world and my poor unChristlike response to it and being called on the carpet about it in no uncertain terms.
So, after wallowing in self pity because I was “so misunderstood” I decided I would do what I should have done before I opened my mouth: I went to the Word to do some research. My subject of interest was abominations. Just what constitutes an abomination to the LORD.
Boy was I in for a shock! I was guilty of all SEVEN!
Proverbs 6:16-19 reads “These six things doth the LORD HATE: yea seven are an abomination unto Him:
*A proud look (we call this “haughty” in the South, or “looking down your nose”)
*A lying tongue (you know those “little white lies” we tell each other to avoid hurt feelings)
*Hands that shed innocent blood (murder or even the thought of “I wish he/she was dead)
*A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations (“I need to rob a bank;” “I need to hire a hitman;” or “If Richard Gere would drive up in a DeLorean I will take up being a lady of the evening,” ummm you get the idea)
*Feet running to mischief (surely this needs no explanation)
*A false witness that speaks lies (slander, libel, gossip-yes, listening to it counts, false testimony, “sharing” on FaceBook)
*He that sows discord (moans, groans, gripes, complains, wants it “my way”, criticism of others and how they do what they do) among the brethren (this is the church).
Yes, I know we say a lot of things in “jest,” “to vent,” or to “just add to the conversation,” but the cold hard fact is our words, my words, reveal my heart condition of lust, anger, jealousy, vengeance, pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness. Did you notice what did not make the abominations list? Not a single one of the “big sins!”
My life really is lived OUT LOUD! Speaking volumes and a simple “the devil made me do it” or “I got up on the wrong side of the bed,” is an insult to Christ because it minimizes the price He paid for MY SIN! I had a choice!
It is a wonder I have a single prayer answered. There has been much unconfessed sin in my life. I need to call this what it is. Sin.
As a member of the body of Christ, as His Bride, I MUST stop pointing fingers at a world looking for answers. The abominations we want to focus on are not the issue. The issue is a heart that has not yet found JESUS. If the church were to focus on Jesus and pointing the way to HIM, His Holy Spirit will “renew” them just like He is “renewing me” even as I peck out this confession. My recognition of my sin is making me so uncomfortable, I do NOT want to do it any more!!!!!
The woman caught in adultery. Jesus did not excuse her sin. He forgave it.
The woman at the well with too many husbands. He let her know he knew about it and then offered her His time, His compassion, and His acceptance–not of her sin but of who she was.
It was His love and lack of condemnation that drew them to Him. Should we, who are as guilty of sin if not more so, not do likewise. Zaccheus the tax collector “owned his sin.”
The woman caught in adultery and the woman “living in sin” proclaimed their baggage. The thief on the cross acknowledged he was indeed a thief. I admire this. They had no delusions of their quilt. I have often excused mine away.
The truth is sin is sin is sin. There is not a sin scale. Every sin cost Jesus His life.
Colossians 3:8, Galatians 5:19-21 and I Corinthians 6:9-11 all remind us that apart from Christ there is no salvation and our one and only command was to LOVE. They will KNOW we are Christians by our love. Jesus is still in the business of redemption. Some changes were instantaneous. Most changes happen over time. I will struggle til He calls me home.
Father forgive me for my pointing fingers. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. Give me a heart of compassion. Thank you for letting me see myself as you see me. It has put me on my face to seek Your grace. May my mouth be filled with wisdom and kindness from this day forward. It is In the NAME OF JESUS who gave me the right to come boldly that I ask, believing I shall receive. Amen
Yes, for me, Easter will be very different. His grace really is amazing. It was my sin that was on the mind of Christ as He took His last breath saying “It IS FINISHED!” My sin–all these abominations–were covered by His blood and in Christ there is no condemnation.
Treading in the ocean of His love,