I wanted to take some time out to address and help some people who might be holding themselves in bondage to a place that they have already been delivered from. God has forgiven you, but you have not forgiven yourself. Your friends and family find ways to remind you of what you used to be and you begin to dwell on what was instead of what is. The truth is that everything about your past may very well be imperfect. Everything about your past may scream that you are not supposed to be where you are in your right mind. I don’t care what you were (or still are) in bondage to. Whether it was (is) gambling, sex, prostitution, homosexuality, a pornography addiction, drugs, lying, cheating or even stealing. Let’s just get one thing straight, we are not perfect and very much far from it. Not that your bondage of sin is condoned, but in order for us to be free in Christ we must acknowledge our imperfection to reveal a true need for a Savior. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus and we wouldn’t have needed a Savior.
Acknowledging Your Imperfection
So, the first step to your freedom in your mind is acknowledgement of your imperfections. So many times the church wants us to display and depict perfection, when in all actuality, the church is nothing more than a hospital for sick and broken people. The first thing we need to do is acknowledge our imperfection. This is where we start. We’ve been taught to deny..deny…deny. We’ve been taught to never let people know we are struggling and that we are in pain. We’ve been taught to never let people know we are hurting. We’ve been taught to smile in the midst of adversity. We’ve been taught never to let people see us cry. We’ve been taught to never let people know what you are going through because they might use it against you. When in all actuality, we are supposed to confess our faults to one another. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use discretion when sharing because everybody can’t handle your vulnerability. Use your discernment, discretion and wisdom. God will show you who you can share your struggles with, because if we’re not careful, we can harm ourselves by who we choose to open up to. Everybody is not on the “need to know basis” and I think you know that. But the point that I want to stress is that it is important that we break out of this “I’m invincible” cycle of teaching so that the church can learn to start dealing with the ugly truth.
The Struggle Is Real
There are so many people struggling inside the church it’s unreal. There are so many people in bondage inside the church and no one is doing anything about it because everybody is too busy trying to display their perfection and righteousness that they are blind to the struggles of others. Everybody is too busy trying to look and talk like they have it all together when their lives are the very lives that are falling apart. And the scary thing is, no one knows it until it is too late because they failed to acknowledge the truth about their need for help. People of God, let’s work together as brothers and sisters to change this. Let’s not turn a blind eye to the struggles of our sisters and brothers. Let’s create an open door in the church where people can come and get healed. You and I both know how it feels to not want to share your hurt and your pain because of a fear of what people might say about you in the church. And for those of us who have been in the church since we were born, we are the worst at this. We have developed a learned behavior that we know when to turn on and off when entering the doors of a church. We have learned to paint smiles over our brokenness out of a fear that no one will understand. None of us should feel this way. Aren’t you tired of the fake display? If you hurt, you hurt and you shouldn’t have to hide or mask your pain. If you are in a place of worship that has created an atmosphere of this, I would highly to encourage you and advise you to find a much more healthier atmosphere to worship in. There’s nothing worse than a toxic church congregation. The church must become a place of refuge, peace and healing. The truth of the matter is that there are daily battles that we fight inwardly that nobody sees. There are days that we cry and nobody hears. There are times we do things that we have no business doing. There are times we find ourselves in places that we have no business being in. There are times we find ourselves saying things we probably shouldn’t have said. But, the reality is that these things happen as a result of the HUMAN in you. Simply put, WE MAKE MISTAKES.
Understanding The Enemy’s Tactics
Let’s be real. Some of us have made mistakes in our lives that should have taken us out. Yes, even Christians. Sometimes we are the worse ones. And not because we try to be, it is because the devil hates for a Christian to walk a path of righteousness. The devil will do anything it takes to get you off of the narrow path and onto the broad path of destruction. If he can throw you off by the slightest song, picture, magazine, television show or movie, he will do it. This is why it is important to guard our hearts and minds. And very importantly, our eyes and ears. There are some things that you may not be able to watch anymore. There are some songs and music that you may not be able to listen to anymore. Whatever these things are that the enemy uses to overtake your heart and your mind, you must place up a guard against them. Pay attention. The enemy walks around like a lion seeking whom he may devour…if you look weak, you look like prey. Don’t for one second let your guard down. Stand strong against the enemy.
Learning How To Fight Back
My brothers & sisters, we are in a constant battle and if we do not take the necessary precautions to win the fight, we will get ambushed. Not doing anything to combat the enemy is the same as being in a boxing ring with an opponent and not hitting back when you are getting knocked out. Doesn’t make sense does it? So, how do we fight back? What are our weapons? Prayer and the Bible. Prayer is our communication to Jesus and the Bible is Jesus’ communication to us. So if you are being tempted or struggling in your mind, fight back with your two most powerful weapons. Jesus said you have the authority and the victory so you are sure to win the fight. The question is, will you be willing to fight?
Last But Not Least
What I would like to leave you with is a hope of encouragement to let you know that it is okay if you’ve messed up. It’s okay if you’ve done some things that you’re not proud of. We’re not perfect. We wouldn’t be the people we are today if we didn’t make mistakes. And perhaps, we wouldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t made the mistakes that we’ve made. Keep your head up. This life is a journey. It’s a marathon. Don’t be surprised if you fall back down right after you just got back up. It’s to be expected. Your past does not define your future. Although we are made PERFECT in God’s image, we are IMPERFECT in our flesh and in dire need of our Savior Jesus Christ. So, for the church people who ostracized you and talked about you when you revealed your past in an effort to be free from it by exposing it, I apologize for them. And for the family and friends who consistently remind you of what you used to be, I apologize for them. Make up in your mind that you will choose to see yourself as God sees you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image..No matter what mistakes you have made, are making or are contemplating making. God loves you and so do we…And for the record, don’t mind the people who continue to bring up your past. They’re just jealous of your present progress. Keep it moving. You’re on the right track.
So, as we discussed, you may have very well made one of the biggest mistakes in your life, but it is not the end of the world. God has already forgiven you. He forgave you when you asked for forgiveness the first time. So many times, we hold our own selves in bondage because we fail to forgive ourselves. We’ll forgive someone else before we forgive ourselves. Amazing right? One of the things we need to remember is that God forgives our iniquity and separates our sin as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more. And since we were made in the likeness of His image, we should be just “like” Him. Forget it. Move forward and determine that you will not let your present upset stop you from your future uprising. Leave it all behind you. And if for some reason, you struggle with forgetting it, at least make an effort to allow it to be a stepping stone that helps build your story. Every story has a starting place and every story doesn’t always start out in a good place. And you know what, it’s okay.
P.S. I pray that you are encouraged and I pray that you share this with someone else who is struggling. That’s the only way we can help one another on this journey. We have to share. Keep your head up. It gets better…I’m praying for you.
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