The “great philosopher” Pearl Baily once said: “You never find yourself until you face the truth.”
Any time someone mentions truth I tend to slow down and pay attention. I agree with her, with qualifications.
There are at least two truths about ourselves in any given situation: the truth of where we have been and what we have done, and the truth of who we are and where we are going.
Which Truth Are You Listening To?
First, there is the truth of where we have been and what we have done.
When I look back at my life I can see mistakes, bad choices and failures. The things I did, like drinking “like a fish” until I was 21. Or the things I didn’t do, like choosing to look aside, refusing to help, the way the Pharisees did in the parable of the good Samaritan. Those things all too often shout louder than the positive achievements and hard-earned victories. That looking behind and seeing the negative is what Larry Poland refers to as the accusation gap. If we focus on the negative past choices and actions, they scream at us as long as we let them. Listening to accusations, no matter how true they are in relation to what happened in the past, causes them to become our own definition of who we are. It is a trap. We are in trouble, unable to forgive ourselves. We become stuck as the old tapes tie us down and keep us from moving forward.
Fortunately, that is not the end.
Second, there is the truth of who we are and where we are going.
Notice the subtle difference? In the second I am not looking at my actions but my being. I look at who God says I am and who He created me to be. I am not a human doing. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, those who accept that gift are reconciled to God. All those accusations are met with “Forgiven” & “Paid for on the cross.” The truth is, I am a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come. I am free from the past and am able to move into my eternal life, here, today. The past and it’s accusations only have power over me if I give them that power.
God defines me as His chosen child, part of His royal priesthood, His bride! I am fearfully and wonderfully made, designed to carry the good fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.
He knows me perfectly. Every hair on my head is individually numbered, and He knows the exact number of each one! He knows us in even more detail than that. And He declares day and night and night and day; “I love you with an everlasting love!” “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you!” “You have been bought with a price!” God says, “ I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Yes, my past happened. That is truth. And it is all part of making me who I am today. But the other truth is the love of God and His abundant, constantly over-flowing grace to live in the truths of how He sees me, of who I am, not what I did.
I can embrace the past, thanking God for how He has used it to bring me to this point, teaching me about His love and care for me. At the same time I let go of the accusations, embracing truths of God’s forgiveness and His definition of me. From that place of acceptance I become able to allow His love and grace to flow through me to others.
Every human being on the planet is created in the image of God. Freedom and good are here for us to reach for. Or we can run the old tapes.
Time to face the truth and find yourself.
Which truth are you listening to? Like most of us I walk in both. I am a work in progress.
Which truth do you want to listen to? (No “Yeah buts…” allowed =} that might attempt to justify staying stuck.) God is calling us all into freedom. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom 12:2a) Choose and ask Abba for the courage to flow in His grace. He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we can ask or even imagine!