I'm reading Learning My Name by Pete Gall. It's a really intense book for me and I'm having a hard time reading more than a few pages.
I started it right after reading another really intense book and had to put it down. I just couldn't do it anymore.
But I dog sat this weekend and decided to give it another crack. At the end of the intro and each chapter there are questions to answer and reflect on. I'm only partly through the 1st chapter. Because I just can't push through this book. It's challenging my views on forgiveness, healing and redemption. I realized with a tearful start that I still believe a lie. Lies that had been tattooed on my heart for years I'm still finding them holding on in the deepest corners of my heart and mind.
I know they are lies. I know they are lies. But I still believe them to be true. I choose their sharp broken edges over the loving embrace of a God that has never harmed me.
The question was "What do you believe happens when God forgives you?"
I know what happens, I've read about it in the bible, what happens when you ask for forgiveness. I know the truth. But my mouth opened and out of it came this damn lie that He patronizes me, says "yes yes I know you'll try to do better, just like the last hundred times" Out of my mouth and the dredges of my heart came the characteristics and habits of people that have hurt me, lied to me, used me, abused me...and my very own broken and damaged character came out. That forgiveness isn't true, it doesn't exist. There is no redemption for this horrible nasty girl.
I can't even explain really what happened after that. I wrote and wrote and wrote in my journal. I prayed, I cried I begged for this to go away, these lies.
I know these are all lies. That no one, myself included is beyond redemption. I know that when you ask for forgiveness you are granted it immediately. But I don't believe it. I don't trust that it could really be true.
It's infected my relationship with God to the point of infecting my time in prayer with him. It's is a brick wall that I've built between us that I'm tired of ramming my head into. It's a battle that is raging that is whispering to me that God merely tolerates me and my antics because I'm useful to Him in some way. Which is the same battle that rages in my heart about my relationships with other people.
It's terrifying and reassuring, this realization that these lies exist along with my knowledge of the truth. It's terrifying that I can have known God for so long, that I have seen Him do amazing things and that He has delivered me from so many things but I still don't seem to trust that it's real. It's reassuring because at least I know the truth...which is someplace to begin.
Because I know, that we are all redeemed freely through grace. That it is not what I do, the tasks I accomplish, the words I do or do not say, the actions I have taken in the past or the actions I'm taking now that will earn me grace. It's free. Completely unearned and completely amazing. Now I just have to find a way to truly truly believe it and allow that grace to heal the scars the lies have left etched in my heart.
22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
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Thud of Grace