The 2nd post in the series “confessions from an ex secret-keeper”. The first is found here.
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:18-20
I am my own worst enemy.
This is true of all of us on a hundred different levels. Maybe a thousand.
Self-destruction, self sabotage are hallmarks of our behavior more often than we would care to admit, and likely more often than we even realize. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to living life as God intended us to live it.
Living in the fullness of freedom and grace, living to our greatest potential, living as we were created to live often doesn’t happen. We like to blame it on our “enemies” or evil in the world, or the hard knocks of life. But so much of the time it’s just us.
Especially when we live with secrets. Secret fears. Secret habits. Secret wants. Secret self-hatred. When we begin to hide certains parts of ourselves from the people we are in relationship with we begin to love and live in lies, rather than in truth. And then our hearts begin to condemn. It’s subtle at first, but it soon gains a life of its own.
We have a great capacity for convincing ourselves that we can’t do it, that we aren’t strong enough, that we’re the wrong person for the job, or we’ve used all our chances and never been successful. We’re good at allowing our own hearts to condemn us. The longer we live with secrets we don’t want others to know, the longer we live in darkness and untruth, the longer we live without truth the harder it is to hear when truth is spoken.
But God has an answer for us:
That’s what John says. Live a life of love. Love with action, love truthfully. Don’t just talk about love, be a person of love.
Somehow, in God’s great scheme of things, this way of living grants peace to our hearts whenever our hearts condemn us.
You know what that’s like, right? When your heart begins to condemn you? Anyone who’s kept secrets knows the painful experience of this.
The whispering from within that reminds you of the wrongs you’ve committed. The voices of the past that come back again and again to declare their displeasure with you. The inner DVR that replays the moments of failure and the people who couldn’t find any sense of value in you?
Our hearts condemn us.
But if we are seeking to live this life of love, somehow it connects us to God in a way that grants peace to a condemning heart.
“For God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything.”
He knows the truth. He knows everything – good and bad.
He also knows our value. He knows what we can become if we’ll trust, if we’ll walk with Him, if we’ll accept his view of us over and above our own.
If we are living a life of love we experience a connection with God that is stronger than our worst enemy – ourselves. Admittedly, living a life of love is far more complicated and frightening than first appears. We’ll look further at that in the future. but for now I simply hope you hear these words:
When your heart condemns you it’s not the truth. God is greater. He knows everything (even your secrets), and he loves you anyway. In fact, he doesn’t just love you, he likes you, delights in you. You cannot change that; you’ll never lose that.
What voice is your heart using today? Is it a condemning one? Or is it God’s voice of love and grace?