retold by Deborah
Honesty leads to holiness; it is the path to peace and wisdom. Lies and deceit poison the soul.
Others may be misled, but we cannot convince ourselves: there is no escape from the truth of what we have done.
We damage and destroy, then lie and deny and make excuses; arguing our case in front of an imaginary judge we’ve modeled on ourselves.
It is not God we try to pacify, it is our own guilty conscience we want to put to rest.
While I remained smug and self-satisfied, my soul and spirit grew weary; my body, too, tired from the endless battle of denying any failings or faults.
And You, O Eternal, pressed me from all sides; urging, pleading, begging. I was afraid, for it seemed that I would die.
Then I admitted everything to You: the meanness and the malice, the anger and resentment. “Lord God,” I said, “Here’s how it is: I’m not as I should be. I’m certain that if You knew it all, You’d be ashamed of me.”
I wept and held my breath.
There was no thunderbolt or storm clouds, no stinging nettles or sulphur fumes, only a tender, enveloping silence and an overshadowing peace.
Joy took hold of me and filled my soul, and suddenly I could see: I had searched for faults in others, trying to feel good about me.
I laughed and clapped my hands.
My denials and defenses had been pointless; there was no need to hide. It was Your love and not Your vengeance that pursued me.
There was no danger, no risk of harm or hellfire; my life is safe with You.
Here I am, Lord; my faults and failings laid bare before You. Imperfect and utterly defenseless, vulnerable to love’s transforming grace.
All around me I see kindred souls and my heart goes out to them.
We struggle, we succeed, we stumble, we stand, and sometimes we fall — me and my brothers and sisters — Your dearly loved children, one and all.
Rejoice, O God’s people, and do not be afraid!
This Week’s Suggested Spiritual Exercise
Believe in God’s love for you.