Monday, September 3, 2007

Guilty?

I grew up in a rural area and the little ‘town’ where we did our shopping consisted of a few shops on either side of the gravel highway.
Among the shops were Friesen’s Shoe Store, Funk’s grocery store, Doerksen’s Christian book store, Hoogies Fabrics and my favourite, the 5 – $1.00 store . ( five to a dollar)

One day, when I was about seven or eight years old, I was shopping with my Mom in the 5-$1.00 store.
Mom was paying for her purchases at the counter and talking with the store owner. My attention was drawn to a display stand at the end of the counter from which hung several beautiful necklaces.
I reached out to hold the prettiest one in my hand. Hanging from a gold chain was a large lovely gem stone centered in a gold setting. As I held it between my fingers and my thumb, I moved my thumb over the gem, applying some pressure and it snapped loose from its setting.

I was horrified!!
I laid the stone back in place hoping somehow it would stay…but it didn’t. I had broken this beautiful necklace that I was sure cost a lot of money.
My heart was pounding and I felt sick.

A little voice told me to tell what had happened, but fear gripped my heart like ice and I heard another voice. “If you tell what you have done, they will be angry and you will be terribly punished!”

Shaking, I laid the gem stone underneath the stand and looked around. No one was paying any attention to me at all. No one had seen.
I didn’t say anything and followed my Mom out of the store with pounding heart, sure that I would be called back to face my punishment.

That night I did not sleep, experiencing the torment of unconfessed sin.
In my childish mind I had committed a terrible wrong.
I felt so guilty - so terrified that someone had seen me after all and they would send the police to arrest me and put me in jail. My over active imagination did not serve me well -- and fed my vivid nightmares of being caught and punished. The power of the enemy in the darkness of our mind is far-reaching.

As I got older, I of course realized that what I had done was an accident, but I was still tormented by the fact that I had hidden my sin and pretended I had not done it.
As the years passed I thought of the necklace less often, but when I did the memory was always a very short trip to the emotional closet labelled ‘guilt’ and it always brought the enemy’s taunting voice telling me I was guilty, that I was not what people thought I was. Even though I has asked the Lord to forgive me , I was never able to free myself from my childhood guilt that grown to be so huge.

When I was in my thirties, I was working for Eaton’s department store. One day a new employee was hired to work in the fabric department. She was an older woman, a widow by the name of Betty Enns. She immediately looked familiar to me…. and it didn’t take long for me to connect that she had been the original owner of the 5 - $1.00 store.

A thought occurred to me… At first I pushed it away, reasoning that it would simply be embarrassing. But the more I thought of it the more I realized that God was giving me a chance to do what I should have done as a child.

One afternoon the opportunity presented itself and I spoke with Betty.
I smiled nervously and said, “I have a confession to make to you!”
She smiled back and asked, “What could that be?”
And I told her what I had done as a child.
She gave me a hug, and expressed ‘how sweet’ it was of me to tell her. She laughingly forgave me and said she was sure they had just glued the stone back into the setting and sold it!!

I was free!! No more guilt!

That experience taught me something.

It is not how big or small a sin may be.
What matters is ….do we give the enemy a foothold in our life to torment us?

Eph. 4;27 warns us “Neither to give place to the devil.”

Satan works best in the darkness….anything small or big done in thought or deed in the dark and kept in the dark is a ‘place’ where the enemy works.

He can make a mountain out of a molehill or a molehill out of a mountain, whichever fits his purpose.
His purpose is to fill us with fear and torment – endless accusations, ridicule, threats, and lies.

In the dark , we listen to his voice and are paralyzed with fear and guilt.
But in the Light, he disappears. He has no place, no foothold, no room to work. He disappears with the darkness as quickly as the Light dispels it.

Why do we listen to his lies? Why do we hide in the darkness?

Perhaps because it is so natural for us to hide in the darkness, even a child will seek a dark corner when he feels he needs to hide what he has done.

Yet Roman 13:12 admonishes us to put off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light!
Putting on armour means to cover oneself with strong protective clothing that is impervious to enemy attack.
The enemy’s arrows only have power in the darkness, if we abide in the Light we are covered with a shield that the arrows cannot penetrate.
If only I had been brave enough to confess what I had done immediately, the store keeper would have simply said, "Don't worry about it. We can fix it!" and I would have been spared so much needless pain!!

There is a wonderful verse in I John 2:10 that says when we live in the Light ‘there is no cause for stumbling’.
Never? That’s what it says, isn’t it?
When our path is illuminated with light, it is easy to see where to place our feet.
When we are honest, truthful, confessing our wrongs, admitting to our faults, quick to forgive and ask forgiveness, taking responsibility for our actions and reactions, loving one another - it is hard for the enemy to trip us up !

Jesus came to bring His Light into our lives. He says that He came so no-one should live in the dark!!(John 12:46) but have the Light of Life!! (John 8:12)
No longer are we children of the darkness where there is fear and torment. We are ‘children of light’. (I Thess. 5:5)

4 comments:

Lovella said...

"what a friend we have in Jesus" . .oh wow, I think each and everyone reading this can think of at least one instance where we can relate to todays post.
"needless sin we bear" . . .
sleepless nights . .
"all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer". . .

Sara said...

Yes, as Lovella says, we can all relate to this in our own lives...and what especially stands out to me today in your wonderful lesson is "and put on the armor of light..." What a beautiful picture of what God has provided us!

Vicki said...

I like this! Being honest and confessing our sins and letting go of the guilt is a great way to keep Satan away! Lovella, as usual, came up with the perfect hymn!

truth said...

I am sure each of us can recount something similar that the enemy used to try to defeat us and bring guilt and shame. I am so glad that God gives us opportunities such as this to let it rest with Him once and for all.