I did a dance with God for several years, which often consisted of the same conversation between us. Not because He was saying the same thing over and over, but because I wasn’t listening. The dance involved me telling Him how sorry I was for being the sinner that I am, and Him affirming me through the reading of His Word…affirming His great love for me, His forgiveness extended to me, and His promised faithfulness to be with me. And I danced in this false-humility and self-condemnation before God, fairly convinced that it was the only option—an inevitable consequence of my past failures and mistakes.
Intellectually, I knew that God always forgives instantly and completely when we acknowledge our failure, but I also knew my own heart. When I made some past mistakes, I had known the right choice…and I chose wrong anyway.
And I’m guessing you may have done the same thing in your own life at one time or another.
Because of my willful choices to do wrong, even after being forgiven, I had chosen to dress myself in guilt and accessorize my internal self with a posture of shame.
And it didn’t only affect my relationship with God, but with others as well. For years I never shared my story…I never let on where I’d been. I kept part of myself from being known, suspecting that if people really knew where I’d been and what I’d been through, they really wouldn’t accept me.
And the self-condemnation—the wearing of internal guilt and shame, became my barrier. It served as a suffocating shell, repelling any chance of real intimacy with God or others. And it prevented all God wanted to do in me and through me.
And all of it disguised the beautiful transforming and redemptive work of Christ in me. His beautiful gift was hidden beneath the false humility, unnecessary guilt, and faulty shame I chose to wear. It was never really His plan for me. In fact it was so very opposite of what He wanted.
And in the end I finally recognized this dance was actually a self-absorbed and self-serving act, devaluing all He had done for me…all He had given to forgive me and to set me free. Oh it seemed noble in the moment, but in actuality I had been insulting God and limiting His power from working in my life.
And it was this passage that began to transform my perspective, when I really began to understand it.
1 John 3:19-20 (NASB) We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
God is greater.
Greater than my sin.
Greater than my guilt.
Greater than my shame.
Greater than my self-absorbed focus.
Greater than my false-humility.
He is God, and He knows ALL things. And even when my heart condemns me,
God is GREATER than my heart.
He knows my thoughts.
He knows my heart.
He knows my motives and my reasons for everything.
And His Word tells me that He has GREAT love for me.
That He created me in His likeness.
That He forgives and forgets, and He wants me to be free.
I had arrogantly chosen to wallow in my pity, and it became time to get over myself, and remove the barriers—time to cease my guilt, shame, and self-condemnation dance.
And it was only when I adopted His view of me, from the perspective of His Word, that it all changed. It was only when I began to read His Word and hide it in my heart, that I was able to forgive myself and be set free. And now He and I are dancing a new dance, one of freedom and hope, and I am so thankful.
Romans 8:1-2 (ESV) There is therefore is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
This week I am beginning to memorize Romans 8 within the context of this community…won’t you join us as we hide His Word in our hearts…that we may gain His perspective and set our hearts free?