October 2010

I was recently asked to journal my response to the following question:

What behaviors reveal a different core belief than what I say I believe about You, God?

My mind, sorting through the technicalities of my religious activities, couldn’t come up with an answer. But the Spirit told me I am, at times, a fraud. A deceiver. An imposter to my faith, claiming one thing but doing another. Sensing God’s intention to use this opportunity to teach me a bit of truth about myself, I prayed He would be specific.

He didn’t disappoint.

In a way that only He can, God scooped me up in His arms and held me close while He tenderly chided me for not trusting Him to bridge the gap between my worth and His acceptance. He pointed out that when I tell myself I’m not good enough, I’m actually saying that He’s not enough.

That His atoning death on the cross wasn’t quite enough pay off the debt of my sin.

That His words in Isaiah 1:18, though true for everyone else, are less than true for me.

That His forgiveness, broad as it is, just can’t cover up my dirt. (Can you relate?)

Lies. Debilitating lies from the pit of hell. Lies that swallow me in self-absorption and that don’t even make sense in light of the proof God gave on Calvary and continues to give me every single day.

Why, having been given the opportunity to lay down the burdens, do I insist on hauling them around? Why do I choose to run around in rags when God wants to clothe me in glory?

I’ll tell you why: Because God’s character is unbelievable. It goes against everything we’ve learned about people. People hang onto the bad, but God throws it into the sea of forgetfulness. People heap guilt, but God lavishes mercy. People find us un-amazing, uninteresting, and unworthy of their time, but God knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, knows the number of hairs on our heads, and traded His life so we could spend time in His presence.

It’s time to kill the lies and believe the unbelievable. God’s actions prove His beliefs about you: You are forgiven. You are accepted. You are free.

Take a few minutes to answer the question I had to answer. Ask God to show you the discrepancies between your behavior and your belief, and let Him teach you how not to devalue what He has done on your behalf by believing the lies.

Driving to work one morning last week I was introduced to this song. And it literally rocked. my. world. When I got to the office I played it dozens of times over. I couldn’t get enough. It seemed to soothe my soul and heal an old wound that had recently resurfaced. But as I listened to and read through the lyrics, I was also struck by how much this song speaks to the true purpose of redemptive community.

The Healing Has Begun
by Matthew West

You have carried the weight of your secret for way too long
Thinking if there is a place called forgiveness you don’t belong
Oh, but freedom can never be found behind those walls
So just let ’em fall
Just let ’em fall

Oh, the healing has begun

How long has it been since you’ve felt anything but shame
Child, lift up your eyes cause mercy remembers your name
And those tears you’ve been holding back
Let ’em fall like rain
Cause today is the day
Yeah today is the day

Oh, the healing has begun

Just lift your eyes
Lay it down
What once was lost
Has now been found

There’s a world full of people dying from broken hearts
Holding on to their guilt thinking they fell too far
So don’t be afraid to show them your beautiful scars
Cause they’re the proof
Yeah, you’re the proof

Oh, the healing has begun

Community is a place where we can share our scars and learn from the scars of others. We can exchange the guilt and shame for grace, mercy, and unconditional acceptance—perhaps for the first time ever.

And that’s where the healing begins.

Until next time,