Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil. 20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. John 3:19-20, CEB
The basis for judgment is not goodness or perfection but willingness to be exposed to “light”. We fear coming to the light but this is ironic because it’s exposure to light that gives us life. Because of this, we must be aware of two dynamics when it comes to our relationship to God.
- Living in the light implies we must live in reality (as we’ve discussed ad nauseum).
- Living in shame is as inappropriate a response to reality as denial is.
We talked about the first statement yesterday. The second statement is a little more complicated to unpack. God, through sending his son, offers us the opportunity to live in the light. In order to do this, we must recognize hard realities about ourselves. If we’re willing to do this, we’re brought into the light and given a different kind of life through God’s spirit. That spirit is transformative, making it possible for us to love as God loved. In this way, we can become fully human as Jesus is fully human.
We need to make something clear, though. Recognizing hard realities about ourselves is not the same thing as shaming ourselves into a false form of obedience. When we live in shame and then, out of fear, spend our whole lives trying to “stay within the lines” or “white knuckling” then we haven’t truly received the gift that God offers. This is a false obedience because it is not really our desire to live the way that we’re living. We’re living just so that we don’t get whacked. That is not freedom. That is not abundant. This is simply fear.
More on this tomorrow.