“Everything you’ve ever believed or claimed to be in Christ….it was all just a huge lie.”
These would be the words that would send my bleeding, sin-sick soul plunging deep into the abyss of depression, doubt, anxiety attacks, and feelings of deep worthlessness.
As I sat in the front seat of my parked car reading these typed words on my cell phone screen, I struggled to breath. And hope drained from my heart the way that air leaves a punctured balloon.
I felt numb. All I could do was sit there allowing my mind to attempt to process the possibility that these words were truth.
“Everything I’ve ever believed about my walk with God and who I am in Christ is a lie? All because I messed up big time?”
It was as if I’d just been hit by the biggest train imaginable and I struggled to pick my internal being up off the ground.
Then the tears came.
I slumped my body over the steering wheel of my car and wept as uncontrollable waves of guilt, shame, sorrow and hopelessness crashed mercilessly against the already broken down walls of my soul.
It had to be true. After all, these words weren’t the words of some stranger who hadn’t known my life intimately. Instead they were the words of a trusted spiritual mentor, ministry leader and “second mom.” From one whom I had believed would be one of the first to be there during one of my darkest hours – to give guidance, truth and breathe life into a soul that felt just as if it was experiencing death.
I had sinned.
I was dead wrong. And no one knew it or felt it more than I.
And what I needed most in that moment, wasn’t to be excused or accused.
I needed grace.
I needed hope.
I had reached out for it and it had been the opportunity for the words of a dearly loved mentor in whom I trusted; to throw a lifeline of grace out amongst the turbulent waves of my soul that I could cling tightly to – but what I received felt more like a hand holding me under water.
The truth of my imperfect, flawed and sinful nature had been exposed and it felt as if the grace I had heard taught of all my life just wasn’t quite enough for me – not this time.
As Jesus hung dying on the cross for the sin of humanity, still my sin felt too big for this Jesus.
I’ll never forget the feeling of hopelessness I felt as I struggled to decipher if this could really be true.
Thankfully, her words would not be the end of my story. Grace would come anyway, and it would not fail.
But I can’t help but wonder, what if she had chosen grace in place of shame? What if she had seen this as her opportunity to be the very heart of Jesus to a life who desperately needed a God kind of healing?
Somehow, it’s become all to easy even for those of us who call ourselves the church to point a finger and turn our backs on the messiness of sin and difficult situations.
It’s a sad day when we we feel justified in our decisions to condemn and walk away, rather than to extend grace and “walk it out” with others.
Every single week, we get faced with situations in which we get to choose which we will do. And in those pivotal moments, our words exist as one of the most powerful forces on earth for that individual.
So the next time we find ourselves face to face with the brokenness and filth of a fellow man who’s fallen, we get to choose….
Mercy or judgement
Condemnation or grace
Despair or hope
Death or life.
The difference between the two in a person’s life, can be found in our words.
What if we chose life for them?
When someone within our reach reaches out desperately for grace, may we, the church, not fail to help them find it.