A little while back, The Lord gave me this exquisite gift, and I want to share it with you. But it’s really hard to figure out how to do that, because simply to describe it to you would not be enough. Truly to share it with you, to place it in your hands I shall have to ask a favor of you, Gentle Reader. I shall ask for 10 minutes of your prayer when we finish… 10 minutes of your life, your breaths, your heartbeats, to be invested in an exercise, a “prayer experiment” if you will. But, it is entirely possible that your investment may become the most incredible gift you have ever received… not from me… not at all… but from Him.
Now, have you ever had your heart broken? Been accused of terrible sin by those you utterly trusted and loved? Been called names, had your motives twisted by people deep in your heart? So deep that even to hear or see the words of their accusations turn your stomach, for they are so far from your true heart or mind or spirit? It is a horrible feeling, no? Like having a dagger of ice plunged deep into your chest… takes the breath, numbs the limbs and the will.
This happened to me a while back. Such pain, such terrible empty pain. So, obviously, we take such a thing to The Lord. We “know” what to do. Scripture is clear on such things. First, as clearly I had caused offense to others, there is examination… the invitation to conviction, the readiness to repent. There is the question, “Lord? Is any of this true?” There is the surrender to the Holy Spirit in total and complete transparency… “Search me, cleanse my heart, O God! Is there anything in and of me, regarding this, that is darkness or shadow? Are these accusations founded? Have I sinned, even though this was never my heart or intention? Have I given offense?”
Interesting observation, here, Gentle Reader… one I’ve only realized in recent years. When one makes a commitment to transparency before God and mature brethren in accountability, and makes such a discipline a part of one’s life for years… then “conviction” works two ways. Just as we are subject to sharp clear conviction of sin when we have wounded the sacredness of another… so too we can experience sharp clear conviction of innocence when we have not. The more we yield to the sovereign guidance of Jesus’ presence in our lives, the more the Enemy will seek to derail us through the use of “scruple”, the wrongful accusation of sin where there is none, to tear our gaze from The Lord and focus it on ourselves in fear and timidity.
So, one goes to Him and just prostrates before Him, and waits… rests… stilling the heart and the will to hear clearly without defense, or denial, or twisting of any truth. And when the heart is still and calm enough, when the peace surpasses all understanding, He speaks. “No, child. These sins, these accusations and charges, have nothing to do with you. They do not touch your soul, and never have. They are but illusions and shadows. Do not let them touch you now… release them.”
So, you do. You have conviction of innocence, and you forgive the hurt. You hold nothing against the accusers. You lift them up, you pray for them, you respond graciously. You seek a way to change this false perception, but realize that once someone mistrusts you, your heart, your motives, there is nothing you can do to repair that twisted vision. Any effort you make only looks like conflict, argument, defense… you can only make things worse. Only God Himself, only the Holy Spirit, can correct anyone’s very perception and vision of another… so you gently release them to Him, and you pray for them, surrounding those who have hurt you with your love and your grace.
The circumstances are not important, but assuredly you’ve shared the experience. Sometime in the life of any and every mature believer, a brother or sister has misunderstood you, wounded you deeply, and caused breathtaking hurt that you have released and forgiven. But the hurt, the pain, the woundedness… they persist. To touch that place in your heart, to recall memories of that and of times before, brings the deep ache of grief. While that grief may fade a bit over time, still there is ever pain.
Here is where God did such an extraordinary thing, where He granted such an amazing gift.
One morning, in prayer for those I lift up, as my spirit touched and lifted these accusers (for God commanded that my prayer, blessing, intercession for them should not change one iota across all this…) that ache awoke in my heart, and God interrupted my thoughts and feelings.
“No… this will not do. You have examined, yes. You have forgiven, yes. But you’ve not yet come all the way with My commands. You are grown enough to be obedient to Me, and you are not obeying.”
‘How, Lord? I don’t understand. I cannot control my feelings, only my actions and will. As far as I know, I am obeying. What then, do I lack?”
And He brought to my mind what I call “inconvenient scriptures”. Specifically, His teaching that those who are judged and reviled for doing His will are “blessed”. Even more pointed, He focused me on the truth here at…
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
God made clear to me that I had “taken offense”. That I was taking into account a wrong suffered, and failing to acknowledge the joy, the blessing and peace, of my very innocence. Hard to wrap words around this, but that I was accepting into myself pain, stripes of condemnation, as though guilty… where He Himself had both declared innocence, and by His blood and cross cleansed from all unrighteousness.
My “head” could grasp this, but my “heart” could not receive it. His command was clear, my pain was in my “taking offense” at these accusations. That was not of Him, that was out of order, and I was to stop that. So I tried. Several days I tried with all my might and will. But I failed, not only yet experiencing my grief, but now adding my own regret of failure to yield to Him here.
Ever been here, Gentle Reader? Ever had God rebuke and correct you for an attitude out of order with Him and His Word, that try as you might, you simply COULD NOT correct in yourself? Betcha have… I’ve been here often. So… I did the only thing I could. I gave up. I realized that nothing in or of me could fix this, and I yielded to Him. I just released this to Him, knowing He would renew and transform as I got out of His way and permitted Him to do so. I’d repented, I’d yielded, and now I would trust to Him.
And then… quite unexpectedly one morning… He gave me The Gift!