Approximately 13 months ago, my good friend Chris started facebook chatting with me after a several-year silence. We had become close at Christ Academy 2007, but hadn’t really kept in touch.
He started talking to me about his personal struggles with the flesh, and his emerging ministry of reconciliation through the Something Beautiful Tour. It opened me up – for the first time – to talk about my past sins, and how I’d never really gotten over them. He encouraged me to write an anonymous post, which I entitled “Finding the Light”. It can be found here, near the bottom of the page. Immediately after writing it, I sent a copy to my current pastor. He immediately suggested we start meeting to work through the issues I presented, of getting of the shame of my sin and walking (to borrow a phrase from a mediocre hymn) “as a child of the light.” We started meeting weekly for sessions 2-3 hours long, and towards the end of the 3rd session, I finally started to feel free.
Which is when the storm hit.
By this point in my life, I had become pretty active politically, and was running for a prominent statewide office within my organization. A former friend who knew of my past sins (one of precious few that did) started spreading it around in an effort to derail my campaign. What he didn’t know is in the process, he derailed my life – and almost sent it over the cliff.
Imagine – you have a nasty secret that less than 5 people know about. You’ve managed to keep it hidden for years, so you’ve just sort of shoved it to the back of your mind. Imagine that secret becoming known by hundreds of people in a very short time, forcing you to come clean about it to your family, your best friends, and your church body all within a period of about 4 days. It was a heart-wrenching time, and I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupted by the end of day one.
But the story today is not about my past. It’s about the people who saved me.
I think about Taylor and Jessica, my best friends. After a long day of confronting my sins with the world, I went to their house. They read my story, and while Jess came and hugged me and held me, Taylor fixed me a strong drink – and for the first time all day, I cried. Not because I was empty, but because they were filling me back up.
If Chris hadn’t ever contacted me, I don’t know if I would have made it through that forced coming out. If my pastor hadn’t reacted with grace and mercy, I would have gone back in to my shell never to return. If my parents and sisters and friends hadn’t shown me the love shown them on Calvary, I would have cut myself off from everything. And most of all, if Christ Jesus had not given me the mercy he gave to the thief on the cross, I would have perished. BUT THEY DID. And they are not the only ones – then and in the time since, people of all walks of life have come to me thanking me for my honesty and openness and seeking me out for help with their own similar struggles.
That’s the beauty of healing, of reconciliation – when God to heals your wounds, they don’t disappear; rather, they change purpose, wounds of torture becoming holes from which the Glory of God shines through.
One year ago, my life changed forever. I learned to stand on the Rock that is the Church Catholic – and in the name of Christ, be lifted up by Saints of God. I will never be the same again.
So Church – RISE UP! Go forth into the World, proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ, reaching out in His name and with His power to heal the hurting, comfort the afflicted, and help the lost be found once more. BE THE CHURCH MILITANT – and be so without fear, for great will your reward be when the master comes.