(This is a parenthetical post. While writing my last post about being disappointed in the community of Christ, I realized I was guilty of a demanding and disappointing spirit toward my brothers and sisters in Christ. Man, it is a tough, but gracious place when the Holy Spirit nails your “spiritual” a**. My own story follows, Lord, have mercy!)
As I waited for the group to begin, I was sure of only two things; both were ugly and fearful. The first was about me, the second about what I had to do. I had been forced, by the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit, to take a look inside myself and I was offended by what I found…deep resentment, aggressive bitterness, isolating anger, demandingness toward friends who had been nothing but generous, supportive and faithful toward me. These feelings were dark and loathsome blotches on my soul, obvious indications of what I feared all along, that I was indeed an ugly, and shameful person. My true nature had been exposed and it was hideous.
This was the first fact and as bad as it was, the other certainty was even more frightening…the Holy Spirit had shown me the necessity of revealing this ugly part of myself to these friends. I had no choice. Resentment was driving a wedge between us and my commitment to our friendships and the prompting of the Lord had convinced me that I needed to talk about the precipitating situation and my emotional responses to it.
I believed that the revelation of my dark soul would cause these friends to shun me-to see the reality of my life and move away from me. I would be exposed and then deserted. I was afraid, but I did it.
At first, their words back to me did not penetrate the veil of shame that covered my mind and my heart. They called me humble, brave, courageous, honest, lovable, trusting, dear, obedient; they affirmed my value, my gifts, my heart; they heard my confession; admitted with me my imperfection, yet they loved and respected me all the same.
I humbled myself before the Lord and I was lifted up. (1 Peter 5:6) Their witnessing my confession and their speaking forgiveness and truth back to me lifted me into the very presence of God. The veil of shame that separated me from Him was parted and I entered the throne room of my gracious and loving Lord Jesus.
It probably lasted only a few seconds but for that brief time I entered into an eternal moment. I saw myself as God sees me – as His loving child; His lamb, willing to follow Him into danger because she trusts Him; a daughter worthy of love and affection; a source of pride and joy. During this eternal moment I was able to enter into His joy over me. (Zephaniah 3:17) I felt the weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17) that will be mine in eternity. I could objectively appreciate and be glad for who I am.
Ah, what a moment. Then the curtain closed and my doubts returned. But I will carry the memory of this moment with me forever treasuring it in my heart (Luke 2:19, 2:51) as a guarantee of my eternal inheritance. (Ephesians 1:13,14)