Ever had a moment where your guilt was blocking the grace-filled face of Jesus?
It’s meant to be the most liberating time of the year, but I couldn’t see the good in this particular Friday. I wanted to feel grateful and free, but I was so acutely aware of how undeserving I was of this kind of sacrifice. My heart felt like a paper weight.
To give you some context, let’s roll the tape DVD (we still use those, right?) back one week before that Good Friday. I had messed up. Really messed up. It didn’t land me in jail or with an illegitimate child I never knew about (which would be difficult seeing as I’m a chick… think about it… there you go).
It was something many people would laugh off; they might shrug their shoulders and move on. But for me? It was a rude wake up call. It reminded me how vulnerable, how weak I am without Jesus. You know those moments?
It’s usually just as I pridefully think I have my life together that I am quickly reminded of my own humanity. It sucks.
The truth was that I had stayed out way too late, in a foreign city, with some people that didn’t have my best interests at heart. My bible college tutor would say, “They are not friends to your destiny, Elyse.” I wouldn’t say that because, well, it’s so cheesy it kind of makes me cringe. But you get my point.
Long story short and intentionally vague, it didn’t end well. The next morning, I woke up, feeling horrible, humbled and hung-over. I wanted to pretend it never happened, to shrug it off and move on.
… But I couldn’t. I blame my praying parents who knew how to train up and child in the way she should go. What abuse.
I flew into Sydney on Good Friday morning, ready to drive to church, smile, and keep my secret... But it was getting heavier, more overwhelming, and all consuming.
Anxiety had replaced my peace and distractions had replaced my sleep.
And yet, I couldn’t tell anyone.
I had listened to a lie that told me that if I came clean, it would be the end of my future and reputation. In fact, I had done more than just listened. I had invited it in to sit on my most comfortable brain-couch (totally a thing) and gone out to get its favourite Starbucks, the kind of order that demanded, 'a Venti latte in a tall cup, 30 pumps of syrup but hold the syrup, and make it boiling hot… With 5 pieces of ice.'
All so I could keep entertaining the lie. Why do we do that?
Why do we entertain these lies that keep us locked away in our own chamber of guilt and shame, all the while clanging on the jail bars, screaming to be let out... Forgetting that we have the key to freedom in our hand?
And yet, entertaining it I was. I secured my "all is well" mask tightly for the Good Friday service. After all, I figured the first time everyone saw me in a few weeks wasn’t the place to tell them what a huge mess up I was.
… And yet, behind the mask, the reality of my failures hit me on that Friday. It didn’t feel good to me.
I was acutely aware of my brokenness, of my sin, of my ability to so quickly forget the sacrifice of Jesus – to forget that He died in my place. I couldn’t see that He took my punishment... Knowing that I would be broken, knowing that I would fail, and knowing that I would so quickly forget.
Why? Because He loved me. Because He wanted to know me. Because he wanted to heal my broken heart. Because he wanted to cheer me on from the sidelines, even when I had fallen over and grazed my knee.
Jesus wanted to show me, not how bad I am, but how good He is. (click to tweet)
That afternoon, I crawled into my dad’s lap and told him everything. My confession was humiliating, humbling and healing.
Throughout that process I realised something: What I was dealing with wasn’t an Elyse-problem. It was a human problem. Sin affects us all.
How ironic that on the day Jesus was overcoming my sin, I was almost overcome by it.
I almost disqualified myself without consulting the ultimate umpire. And when I finally did consult Him, you know what His verdict was?
This Good Friday, get in on the freedom I found. Silence the lie and amplify the truth. After all, He paid the ultimate price for it. So what are you waiting for?
Give up the shame. Move on from the mistake. Get back in the race. Let it go. (If this were a Disney movie, I would have created an ice castle and be half way through a song right now).
I pray this Easter you realise that the good in this Friday has nothing to do with us. The good in this Friday has everything to do with Him.
Turns out it is a Good Friday after all.
And the best news?
… Sunday’s coming.