Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Come into the Light

Writing is a mirror to the soul. When I’m writing you’ll see what I choose to show you and you may catch glimpses of attitudes that I actually don’t intend you to see. Sometimes I’m perturbed by my own attitudes. I don’t want you to see my internal wrestling to be more kind, positive, or self-controlled or to be less jealous, critical or caustic. I’m more inclined to let you see my insights on living a walk of faith and my bragging about Jesus.

There’s something scary about coming out into the open wearing the day’s grime in my attitudes. In the privacy of my thoughts I can ignore nasty stubbornness or quick judgments. But I’m called to come into the light, filthy rags and all. In the light I see truth, and therein lies the power of light. Ugliness is seen as ugly. I cry out for mercy. I catch a glimpse of God’s grace and the flash of His ready forgiveness sets me on a path of repentance. The power of light.

In the safety of God’s presence, facing ugly truth about my shameful attitudes is tolerable. But being truthful about myself to others can be frightening, especially when I don’t know how others will respond. We’ve all experienced a variety of reactions to our attempts at openness: appreciation, kind understanding, criticism, preaching, gentle chiding, shock, disappointment, concern, or wariness. Reactions are filed away and we’ve made value judgments on openness. We may have vowed to never be transparent again, or we may have warm memories of the appreciation others showed towards our humble attempts to being transparent.

Regardless of how other people might react, coming into the light has an amazing power, and that power is what can drive me to openness regardless of my past experiences or my fears. Speaking the truth sets me free. I’m free from trying to escape your discovery! I’m free from dodging the light. I’m free from the effort of dressing up to present a perfect picture of a person called of God. I’m free from the enemy’s threats to expose me! I’m free to let in more light. And I’m free to pursue the path of God’s amazing grace.

Writing the truth also has the power to help others who are scrambling to evade discovery of their miserable failures to be like Christ. Speaking the truth about my own battles with my sin nature can free others to come into the light and experience the exhilaration of truth in God’s warm embrace of love and forgiveness.

While I’m convinced that openness has power, I’m also considering some parameters that might be important for channeling this power in a public place such as a blog.

1. As a believer, my openness should include the truth about my struggles with my fallen human nature as well as the truth of God’s abounding mercy and grace for victory. If I only whine about my ongoing struggles with fear, I can leave my listeners with a sense of hopelessness, bondage, or even disappointment. But if I also share the secret power of God’s rhema word to strip away the chains of fear, then I have shared truth that can help to set the captive free as Jesus intended.

2. I only have the right to be open about my own humanness. I do not have the right to expose another person’s sin or failure. Therefore my own openness about responding to slander should not be worded in such a way as to throw glaring light on the source of that slander. If my own openness risks harming another I need to reconsider my motives and my words. Can I reword what I am saying so I speak the truth about my own battle in a powerful way that can set readers free without stripping another of his reputation?

3. My truth-speaking should always be guided by the Father. Even Jesus, the perfect source of truth did not speak on his own. The Father directed the where, when, how, why, and what of truth! There are times when God asks me to be open about my own struggles in order to help others. And there are other times when I run ahead of God and for the sake of openness or my own agenda speak about my past failures or my present skirmishes. I’ve seen those times of truth fail in achieving anything of benefit for God, myself, or others.

Openness directed by God has the potential of a flashing bolt of lightening - light, truth, and power in one stroke. Humble open writing can be powerful in the hands of God. Am I ready?

Picture from Comstock Photos

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