Locked tight

I have a box that is locked tight in the closet of my mind. It is a box that has been tucked away with hopes that I might forget about the guilt and shame and weight of its contents. It is something that I cannot change and it is a weight too heavy to bear.

At times I have feared that it’s weight might carry me down to Sheol with it. It is a weight that men will hold against me like a scarlet letter on my chest that announces “Unclean!  Unworthy! Disqualified!” Some would go as far as to tell me that I should not speak of the glory of my Lord and Savior – some would go as far as saying that I am doomed, with no hope at all – an abomination – filthy and eternally rejected by a God they claim can love them but not me,  can bless them but not me, can hear them but not me.

And their archers know exactly where to target those flaming arrows so they enter the creases of my armor. They are very familiar with the broken places in the walls where they seek to creep in and set up strongholds. They are very good at accusing their wounded brother, at mocking their wounded prey, at tearing into the very flesh of my heart with their teeth. And once they have set up camp inside the walls, they are very good at hiding and keeping quiet,  hoping that I will not remember, hoping that I will not find these intruders until they are ready to attack and overwhelm me in a moment of weakness.

And even when I think about this tightly guarded box, I do not know what to do with it. The stench of its contents overwhelms me and I wretch in shame and guilt just at the memory. I built up a great arsenal of weapons for the enemy to use against me and they have taken up camp in the armory that I built for the enemy through the foolish ignorance of my old, childish ways. I have handed the enemy weapons of mass destruction to use against me to terrorize my very heart.

You see, the past – I cannot change it. I cannot even fathom how to set it right. When I see the hurt and pain and wreckage that my past caused to some – especially to one – I know the warnings of stumbling even one of these little ones – but what about us who may have clipped the wings of an angel? What of those of us who have burdened another that we once loved? The event doesn’t even need an accuser to stand when I am called. They don’t even need the pile of evidence to hold against me.

I stand before you a dead man walking. I stand before you as the very man that carries the millstone around his neck. I stand before you, worthy of and expecting the pit for my broken covenant between God and another. I stand before you, knowing that on that day, I will finally know whether my hope has been in vain.

Can He love even me? I cry out, Yes! He can and He does! I preach to others the Good News of the gospel,  even as I fear the consequences that I deserve. Even as I acknowledge that I am unworthy, unqualified in the eyes of so many perfect men – I do not envy such men that are in their own estimations above reproach. I do not strive to be listed and titled and honored here on earth among them – because either Christ is my only portion and prize, or He will send me too the pit that I so truly deserve.

Enemy, do you call for a witness, for a testimony against me? Let me speak! Because I declare myself guilty by virtue of my old life – but thank you,  Jesus,  it doesn’t stop there! Yes,  I am guilty. Yes, I bear my cross as a man condemned and worthy of death and destruction and separation from a holy and righteous God – BUT GOD…

And I’m so thankful for that BUT GOD…

But God so loved ME, that He sent His Son to die on the cross in my place,  and the enemy was defeated by His love and by my faith, and He rose again as not just the judge, but the advocate that we have in heaven, and His Holy Spirit came to live in me and convict me if sin, teach me truth, and guide me in His ways, so that He will be glorified,  not me.

That box in the back of the closet will be opened, and the contents may do their best to torment me and distract me, and they may even overcome my emotions and my reason and my logic, but they will not overcome my strength because it comes from the Lord – because the victory is His, not mine. With God, all things are possible.

It’s time to open the box.

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made  them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given:  For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is  good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’  ‘Honor your father and  your  mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:3-26 NKJV

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