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There is no easy way to back in to today’s sermon.
Father of lies.
Who or what is this devil we don’t like to think about?
What is this eternal sin Jesus speaks of?
Things we don’t want to think about, talk about. Yet my friends they are real and we face them every day.
It is easy to say, “But he said…”
It is even easier to keep making choices that slowly numb us to the effects of sin in our lives.
To become immune to those whispers to our soul of doubt, distrust, malaise.
We find ourselves unwilling to break free from the crowd that subtly goes from talking about God to questioning things we have no godly reason to question.
To debate who is right and who is wrong, who is righteous and who is sinful.
We move from seeking unity, harmony, reconciliation, or justice to striving to be the RIGHT one.
The one in control.
The one with the TRUTH.
Untouchable in our quest to hurt others so that we may build ourselves up.
And we do it with such decency! We couch it in our opinion because culture says we are entitled to it. So what we say MUST be true because in our heads it is true.
And we do it over and over and over.
We do it for so long and so well it is our truth.
We may catch glimpses of inconsistencies to it or be smacked in the face with its error.
And yet we keep digging in. Holding our ground.
We become unwilling to let real truth, real mercy free. To do so would shake the very foundations of who we are and what we believe.
And so we push others away. Continue to cover them in OUR truth until they become like that little cartoon character sitting on our shoulder representing those poor choices, wrong actions, hurtful words.
We want so badly to be loved, to belong, that we cannot soften our grasp on this truth. To do so might mean we have been caught out, found wrong.
So we keep the words, the hurt flowing out. Raining down on those around us while we hold tightly to our umbrella of TRUTH.
And all the while we yearn to fill this hole in our soul. This place that never gets warm. This place that stays empty. This ache that won’t go away.
We keep striving. Keep working. Keep speaking. Keep pushing. Away.
Further and further and further.
We close our eyes to the good and the holy.
Brush from us those wings of tenderness, of grace, of mercy.
We continue walking that tightrope of our truth.
Being in control. Always in control.
What we have, who we are…we define. It is OUR RIGHT. We will not let anyone else see us, not really.
Our mirrors continue to be fuzzy and out of focus because then we don’t have to look at who we have become.
We don’t want to look at our pain. Our brokenness. Our sin. Our separation from God.
We look to our efforts. OUR efforts.
And we take pride. WE have done it.
Oh we say we believe in God, yet we act as if it is all up to us.
And that ache continues. That hole grows.
We look around and we have pushed love away. This being right. This defining our truth.
It begins to ring hollow.
But he said….
We have moments we hear the serpent hiss…and over time we think it is our voice.
It is cold. It is empty. It is alone.
Suddenly our little island is rocked. The marriage is in trouble. The diagnosis is not what we hoped for. The child slams the door in our face. The job is in danger.
And the serpent whispers YOU are not enough…
But THAT one, THAT one …she is the reason.
It is his fault.
And the ache continues. That hole grows…and YOU are alone in a dark and scary place.
That little caricature on your shoulder whispers…you are not enough…
And the cycle continues…the darkness grows.
The lies become truth.
And one day it no longer matters. You must strike just like that serpent. Because when you strike there is something.
The numbness recedes.
And the cycle continues…and you are alone…
And the ache continues…the hole grows…
And suddenly God and Satan have been confused in your head and in your heart.
It is easier to walk away than to admit you have listened to the whispers of the serpent.
Easier to blame others than to change the words. Speak the truth. Open your heart.
But what if I told you that right now, today, this moment, in this place it is okay to look that hissing one right in the face and say…
Or what if I told you that if that is too frightening, there is someone who can do that for you?
Someone who has already won the battle for truth.
Someone who has bound up the strong man.
Someone who has been there the whole time whispering to your soul…
I love you.
Let me in.
You are enough.
I love you perfectly.
You can keep pushing me away.
BUT I WILL NEVER GIVE UP.
YOU ARE MINE AND YOU ARE LOVED.
I WILL NEVER LET YOU GO.
YOU ARE MY BELOVED.