We All Have a Story

“Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24 NLT)

Each of us has a story, an unraveling history, which, though often spotted with shame, regret and disappointment, when shared with another person is an invitation to allow them to know us more intimately, to understand us with more clarity and to liberate us on levels we never imagined possible.

When I was first in ministry, I was privileged to serve with a man I respected and admired. We served together for about four years, so I believed I knew him well. Most Sunday evenings found my wife and I, with our two small children, gathered around his family’s table, eating hamburgers and waiting, rather impatiently, for a piece of his wife’s red velvet cake.

Photo by Valeriya Kobzar on Pexels.com

It surprised me one day when my friend, whose life was lived impeccably, in strict adherence to God’s Word, made the comment, almost in passing, that he didn’t let many people close to him for fear if they really knew him, they wouldn’t like him.

Being young at the time, it didn’t register why he would say such a thing. He was well known, serving in prominent positions on the state and national level in our church organization, loved by the people with whom he worked and served at the local church. But now, nearly fifty years later, I understand more clearly what he meant.

The shame, regret, fear and, at times, deep despair I face in my walk with the Lord, are battles I fight on the barren plains of my mind. Of course, I know intellectually, and even in my spirit, that my battles have all been won on the Cross, but random thoughts, desires and pride all point to the depravity of the man I used to be and could be again, save the protective presence of God’s Spirit in my life.

What does all of this have to do with our stories? Quite a lot, actually. Because as hard as it is to grasp, though we all wrestle with these “demons,” we seem blinded to the fact that there’s another human being who could possibly understand what we’re experiencing. It’s as if I think I’m the only person on the planet who has died a thousand deaths on the battlefields of sin; I’m alone in my guilt and shame because of my failures; and so I wrongly assume I’m alone in dealing with the unrelenting tension between what I want to do and be and what I too often choose to do and be.

Then I read a verse like Romans 7:24 which says: “Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Then verse 25: “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (NLT)

We’ll continue this theme tomorrow.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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