“He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.”
—Psalm 23: 2-3
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Last week we encouraged each of you to forgo struggling or suffering and falling prey to the enemy, then instead to take each of these negative feelings to the Lord.
How many of you began to sense Him sitting right beside you? How many of you realized that He is waiting patiently to speak His truth of love, forgiveness and wonderful plans He has for your future—when you wisely take everything to Him?
This is important because it’s when we are ignorant of how to experience true healing when we try to medicate ourselves by other means to deaden the pain or quiet the enemy’s accusations.
“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people restored? [Because her people no longer enjoyed the presence of the Great Physician!]”
What most “good” people do to eliminate negative feelings is through works, which is simply placing a band-aid (or plaster) over our emotional wounds. A bandage helps us to no longer see the injury and allows us to perform good works to help us “make up for” what we’ve done wrong. Often, if it continues, we begin to expand our works and soon we’re simply “religious” making sure we let everyone know what we’ve done or are doing that’s religiously right.
Let me give you a recent example. Not that we actually saw or knew one of our ministers who had "sinned" but her behavior suggested that something had occurred. What we noticed was flowery, fluffy words of praise that we could sense were empty. Soon, she not only doubled her “tithe” but she made sure she wrote and posted comments about it at every opportunity. Next, she announced she was fasting, not just once, but everywhere with everyone.
Let me stop for a moment and explain that she didn’t understand that if you double what you tithe, it’s no longer a tithe, but it’s a tithe and offering. Because the word tithe means 10% so anything above that becomes your offering.
As you remember reading Malachi 3:8–10 tells us, “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”
So, yes, it’s fantastic to give more back to the Lord, by beginning to give not only your tithe but an offering. But it’s why you’re giving. It’s always why we do anything that matters because why we do something is a reflection of what’s in our hearts.
Fasting, too, needs to be done privately, between you and the Lord, as it says in Matthew 6: 16-18.
Yet, each of these situations was not what we were concerned about because each was merely symptoms of what this former minister was trying to hide and feel better about. Sin. And whether it’s a big or little sin OR what may be a complete LIE, it's painful, due to shame, so it needs to be deadened.
Often the enemy knows of your keen desire to be right with the Lord, therefore the enemy cleverly plants lies, which leads to feeling guilty, which if you don’t take to the Lord, will lead to condemnation, which will lead to shame, which will lead to wanting to hide behind good "works."
And once we try to Cover Up what we could be easily healed from, if we only confessed it, we instead are headed for a spiraling downward slope, due to us carrying our own burdens.
Let me share an example that I experienced (while helping my older sister) to help you understand this principle with more clarity. For years my sister was impossible to live with or be around. Her moods were explosive and you just never know when she’d blow. So the only way to deal with her was to avoid her when you could. Since I am many years younger, I never really knew that she wasn’t always like this, because from the time I was born, it seemed she was a sister who you never wanted to cross or get on the wrong side of.
It wasn’t until many years later that I found out the truth. One day she called me and she was sobbing. It took forever for her to get out what she called to say. I could hear her say something over and over again in between her sobs “if you only knew”...
After what seemed like an eternity, she finally was able to tell me (barely above a whisper) that she had a baby when she was a teenager that she gave away for adoption. I was stunned. Not because of what she’d confessed, but stunned because I never realized she thought I didn’t know. No, we never discussed it. She never brought it up, so of course, I wouldn’t have.
As soon as I told her gently, “But I already knew about it” her crying stopped. She was both shocked and relieved. However, almost immediately, her despair began to consume her again when she said, “But wait until my kids find out, they’ll hate me!!” So I explained that more than likely they knew too. I said if one knows the others know too, and I knew one of her children knew because they had spoken to me about it.
All of her life she had carried the burden of a “sin” that no one held against her. Never once when discussing this unfortunate situation did any of my siblings nor her daughter speak ill of her in any way. The opposite was true, our hearts broke for her. We agreed it would be so difficult to live knowing you had a grown daughter living somewhere you last saw as a newborn baby.
This exact situation has been exposed on television shows, the shame and guilt, and condemnation that single moms (and sometimes dads) have when they are in the same situation—giving a child up at birth. But the real tragedy is the negative emotions that the person carries with them—so heavy and so painful, that they deal with any way they can. Often explosive outbursts, often medicated, which is the route my sister took and what led to other complications.
Remember, this is all due to the negative emotions brought on by lies from the enemy as he taunts and mocks your sin—when there is a heavenly Father who wants each of us to come crawling up into His lap to tell us that it’s okay. Or maybe it’s a Brother who is just waiting for you to just tell Him— so He can tell you the truth, while He opens His arms wide so He can remind you that your sins have already been nailed to an old rugged cross.
Next week I will share another example of another Cover-Up while you meditate on what you’ve learned.
*Also, be sure to discuss this with Him by beginning or adding to your Daily Journal.