So as a family one time camping nearby, we decided to visit Hell; Hell Michigan that is. It was/is a very very very small town in Michigan that has not much more then a few corner stores and shops in the middle of nowhere that probably survive purely on the commercial aspects of their name. However after the brief few minutes of interest faded, we were very ready to go. In fact my son asked that we not come back; I think it creeped him out a bit!
Having said that, I don't really want to go back either; it left me with a weird feeling. Not that I'm trying to get on my soapbox and state how wrong the concept is and their marketing efforts are ill founded, after all I decided to visit, but it just wasn't a place that I think I will ever see again. Having said that, a somewhat parallel thing happened to me recently in a much more powerful and meaningful way that I thought I would share.
We all struggle with sin, though not all of us call it what it truly is. However, one particular sin that I have been struggling with over the past several years recently came to a point where I had a major breakthrough. All along I would encourage myself with the fact that I was "improving" ... or assuring myself that I was in this sin "less and less". However I always held the feeling of wondering when I will slip next. Wondering how long I can keep my "good streak" going. Will I make progress, or will I take a step backward? It was a sin that I also began to share with my amazing, wonderful, and graceful wife. Her encouragement and understanding proved to me yet again how blessed I am to be in the marriage I have been gifted.
However after falling into that sin again one day, praying and considering my shortcomings, I was given a level of Grace and Understanding that I didn't expect. At first I began thinking about how I just returned to my own vomit and becoming angry at myself ...
Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. - Proverbs 26:11 (ESV)
It disgusted me so much it is very difficult to put into words. This sin, which I used to almost accept as just a struggle, seemed so utterly dirty to me that I was incredibly disturbed that I brought that into the Light that is in me. Yet ... yet I was reminded that "He still loves me" ... and even that brought on an incredible wave of various emotions. However what it ended up leaving me with was a gift that I could not have found through any Other; closure.
I'm done! It's over!
While in the past, walking away from my sin by "doing a little better" next time seemed like enough repentance to me; and I'm sure to Him it was part of my journey that He accepted, as we all struggle. However this was the moment ... this was the time ... this was the day ... He said, "you're done!" ... and I said, "Amen!"
The thought of "how long can I keep this going" is not even in my head anymore! Even the horribly superstitious (evil) behavior of thinking "But Matt, if you say you're done and something happens ... you may have just jinxed yourself" is gone. I said I'm done! If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!
... I wonder what He is going to set me free from next!? =) How exciting!
Covered in Crimson,