A person who I love – from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head – confronted me. ouch. She spoke her words firmly, but with love. She was right and I was wrong. There was no way for me to wiggle out of it. I’m going to blog about it today – but I don’t really want to.
After she spoke to me, I was absolutely sick of ME. I literally cried – I mean, flat out bawled before the Lord. I was humiliated – embarrassed – ashamed – and mad at me.
This particular sin of mine wasn’t a one time deal. Nope. This has been an ongoing sin in my life and it stems all the way back to my youth. I have fought against it – at times defeated it – only to have it show up again in full force. I have prayed and begged the Lord to give me the strength to stand against it. Shouldn’t a believer be – free?
There have been other times when I have simply given up as I sighed thinking, “Well, this is just the way I am and God loves me anyhow.” These were the kind of thoughts that gave the enemy a foothold in my life which only insured that change would never come. And always, always I heard that small voice within saying, “- oh, yes – God loves you…but you are not living free. You are living as a slave to your sin rather than living as a daughter of the King”
When this person spoke her words to me I apologized profusely and told her how wrong I had been. I prayed that she would be able to forgive me and trust me again. I was so broken before the Lord I felt like I could hardly face the day. I sat with Him for hours talking about it and asking forgiveness. With everything in me I fully submitted to Him. This ugly sin had wrapped it’s tentacles around my life in too many ways to count and in my mind I laid it at the foot of the cross.
…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
– Hebrews 12:1
That verse says it better. I didn’t lay it down – I threw it. That sin of mine was suddenly so disgusting to me that I could hardly bear to look at it. I desired to be done with it forever.
I felt bad for days…until I heard the Lord whisper to my soul, “Be done now. You are forgiven.” I apologized again to this dear woman and she said, “Be done now. You are forgiven.” I also confessed my sin and asked forgiveness from all of my family members – and they just waved their hands saying, “It’s Ok, we all mess up.” It makes me cry just writing it.
And now, as my face is still red with humiliation from writing all of this, I am oh-so-ready to get to the good part – the best part. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized that a change has occurred in me. My husband mentioned that he has seen the change and has been amazed that it was so immediate and it seemed like I wasn’t even trying or thinking about it.
It dawned on me that the voices are gone. I have battled these voices most of my life. Voices that whisper to me and urge me to bend and justify – voices that convince me and call me – voices that tell me that grace doesn’t ask for change. I cannot even describe how different it feels to no longer hear the voices. They have been silenced.
In hindsight, I can see that for all of the years that I have struggled with this sin, I had not fully given up my will until now. It required a breaking of my spirit for me to fully submit in this area.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
– Psalm 51:17
The Lord blessed me in my brokenness. It is the most amazing thing how the Lord met me flat out in my humiliation and He stood me up and now I am walking free. The freedom and joy is so tremendous I have asked the Lord – what other junk do you need me to get rid of? What else do you want me to do? I’ll do it – I’ll do anything to get more of this joy.
I learned that confessing my sin was part of the healing process. As each confession was made – the burdens in my backpack became lighter and lighter and were finally gone.
There is a tendency to think that if we don’t talk about our failings nobody will ever know and then we can keep it our own little secret. But they know. My family knew. Making gut-wrenching apologies to them made me feel like I was admitting that I am a complete loser. But they didn’t see it that way.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
Did you notice that? Confess your sins so that you may be healed. Confession is part of the healing process.
I would like to put a wrap on this most embarrassing blog – and yet I must make a few more comments for you so this one isn’t all about me. I urge you…
#1 – When you see someone who has a pattern of sin in their lives, love them enough to speak truth to them. It might be the turning point in their lives and lead them to new found freedom. My friend was quick to say that she doesn’t have it all together but at the same time she felt it important to address this area of sin that had become a pattern in my life. (actually, it just plain WAS a pattern of mine) She was gentle and loving and she wrapped it in grace and extended forgiveness.
#2 – When someone confronts your sin, accept it as a Word from the Lord. If a person is hurling insults and hurts – that is straight from the pit and you can ignore that. But if someone speaks the truth in love, pay attention. Don’t jump to defend yourself and I will remind you why. We must face our sin and leave it behind in order to live a life that is free and abundant. We must leave sin behind in order to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives.
If no one is telling you…and if you’re really, really, brave…you might ask someone who you trust and who you love, – What do they see in your life that should change? What is it that does not honor God? What do they see that you cannot – or will not? Give them some time to think about it and pray about it before they give you an answer. Don’t accept an “oh…you’re just fine” answer. Oh, trust me it hurts – but it’s worth the freedom and healing that follows.
#3 – Confess it to others. My gut told me that my confessions would evoke more shame but I was willing to do it. I had to. It was the exact opposite. When I owned my sin and was willing to be held accountable it broke the shame and the grip on my life.
Because my friend cared enough to help me, I have experienced change that is so evident that I know it can only be from Jesus himself. I know what goes on inside of my heart on a day to day basis. I know the things I try to hide and the things I refuse to acknowledge. I’m telling you – this is a parting of the Red Sea kind of miracle for me. I am living free. It makes me feel like doing cartwheels – but I can’t – so I am doing cartwheels inside of my heart.
Leaving sin behind is part of the sanctification process as the Lord shapes us and prepares us for our eternal home. We shouldn’t be surprised when we are confronted with our sin. We all have sin – but some of us don’t care to consider that we are as sinful as the person who is caught up in drugs, addiction, or porn. Some sins are more visible to the eye and other sins are tucked deep inside of the heart. If you think that you are doing pretty well or that you aren’t in need of any major changes …be careful. I am here to tell you that your sin will find you out.
And finally – while I have learned a great deal from having my sin exposed…I respectfully ask that my friends and family members would refrain from immediately getting in line so that they can lay a few more of my sins on me. heheh! I am sure they will. I hope that they will. But for now…I am basking in true grace and the miracle of change. I am truly free. Amazing grace.