The book of James likens the Word of God to a mirror. One glance is supposed to tell you what needs attending to. What needs to be fixed. You look into the glass—the Bible—and you see who you really are. I got such a glimpse this morning.
What I saw left me disappointed but not surprised.
Most mornings, I read “First Things First,” a devotion by author, speaker, and teacher Christine Caine. This morning, Caine talked about how people carry things in their hearts that weigh them down. Things like guilt, shame, and fear. These “weights” are unnecessary because Jesus’ death on the cross dealt with them– along with our sin. Caine noted that when those feelings and issues come up, we need to take them to God.
I thought I had.
I thought I had shared my guilt, shame, and fear with God. Maybe it had been awhile. Or maybe I had let this particular subject slide when God first brought it to my attention. But I couldn’t deny the truth of what Father God brought to mind: I feared upsetting people. I feared that if I did or said things people didn’t like, I would be rejected. Thought less of. This may not seem that big a deal …but, really, at 54, I should be done with such nonsense. I know the “praise of man is a snare.” (See Proverbs 29:25). I know we’re not to put people’s opinions and reactions above God.
Yet, I heard God’s voice through the words of Caine’s devotion. I couldn’t hide. Because I realized I felt the same way about God that I do about people. I often feel that if I do or say or think something that is not right, God will reject me. I won’t be worthy of His salvation and His blessings. In the past, it has tortured me.
I don’t want to live my life that way anymore.
Besides, that’s not how God works. Yes, what I may do has consequences—not the least of which is feeling guilt or shame. But a relationship with God means He loves me for who I am—shortcomings and all. God loves me because He is God and my Creator and, through Jesus, my Father. Like a loving parent, He helps me deal with my issues yet accepts me without condition. Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Even a child knows this…
So, why do I so easily forget?
Silently, I glance at the words I’ve just read and consider what God has told me. And I pray. I pray that I would lay the weight of guilt, shame, and fear back down before God. Again. I pray that I would lay down all the things that hinder me. But I also know that sooner rather than later I’ll be forced to confront my fear of displeasing people. I’ll need to learn to be comfortable with the messy things of life and relationships. The question is will I deal with what I see in the mirror or turn and walk away?