There we sat face-to-face. Different priest, same confession. I’ve literally confessed the same couple of sins for YEARS. I imagine some of you can relate.
Don’t get me wrong. I have made progress. Through God’s grace, and by frequenting the Sacraments, I’ve grown in strength to resist many temptations that used to lead me into sin regularly. But there are still those buggery few…namely, my overreactions, sarcasm and plain old meanness towards my husband at times.
As I knelt and prayed the penance prayers, I was hit with a thought that startled me. “You’ll never really be free of this.” My rational mind knew that was a lie and in complete contradiction to the Gospel! I prayed and asked the Lord to reveal whatever it was He wanted me to see more clearly here. I understood that while I have released anger over past hurts, shifted negative thoughts and grown in discernment, there was still something impeding the “fullness of life” that Jesus offers me.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10
Jesus comes to meet us right where we are and desires our complete and total freedom. He wants to transform our lives. The scriptures are full of such stories. My favorite is the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well [John 4:5-26]. The cliff notes version goes like this:
- Samaritan woman
- Multiple husbands and sexual partners
- Goes to well at noon to avoid other women
- Hiding, ashamed
In the story, Jesus shows up, seeking her, desiring her freedom. Now, remember, men didn’t speak to women! Jews didn’t speak to Samaritans! He steps right over the lines and draws near to her. He sees her. He sees her sins, her shame, her brokenness, her pain.
Their conversation gets interesting. Jesus asked her for water and she replied, “How can you ask me for a drink?” To which He replied, “if you knew who I am you would ask me for water and I would give you Living Water.” Now she’s curious! She is intrigued by this Living Water He speaks of and she wants it: “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
But our Lord, doesn’t indulge her right then. After all, he is into transformation not quick fixes. He so wants to set us free from our discomfort and pain, but not at the expense of our spiritual growth.
Exposed to the Light
And so He does with me and you. He wants to set us free through our spiritual healing and deeper surrender into Him. He wants to heal ALL of my wounds, especially that deeper wound that hasn’t come into the light yet. There’s a raw place in me that, when rubbed through the normal challenges and trials of marriage, hurts! And I fall into the habit of bracing myself, steeling-up to deflect the expected pain. Thus the overreaction, sarcasm, and meanness that send me back to the confessional time and again! Jesus knows this well. He sees the causes, effects and impacts, just as He fully saw the Samaritan woman.
But here’s the thing, this particular wound was inflicted long ago and has nothing to do with my husband. The Lord has let me repeat this dysfunctional dance in my marriage for a time as He did His thing, loving me, drawing me in, sprinkling that Living Water into the parched places of my heart. Until, presumably, He felt I was ready to look deeper and let Him touch me in that raw place.
He said to the Samaritan woman, “Go call your husband.”
He said to me “It’s time to expose the roots of this lie you’ve been telling yourself.”
The band-aid is pulled off (ouch!) and the deeper wound exposed! And now, fully exposed, my wound can begin to heal as it receives the Air, the Light, the soothing Balm. He leads me deeper into the Living Water which washes away old debris, cleanses, and makes new. With Jesus leading me, looking at the circumstances surrounding my original wound is not as scary as I imagined it would be (which is why I avoided it for so long!). As He and I have journeyed into my deeper places together, He has proven Himself to be ever patient and gentle. Within the shelter of His embrace, I find courage to do my healing work – be it forgiveness, surrendering an attachment, creating new inner dialogue based on Truth. He will not be satisfied with leaving me partially healed or guiding me halfway to freedom. He is leading me into the fullness of life. He is leading me to Himself.
Take a moment and reflect on those couple of sins that send you back to the confessional again and again. What’s going on there? Could there be something more, something deeper holding that behavior pattern in place? Ask the Lord to reveal what’s been hidden and give you the courage to look. Let His Healing Light touch your deeper places.
Copyright 2019, De Yarrison