As I work with people, sometimes the lies that drive their lives (and often lead to years of sinful choices in an effort to cope) are so straightforward once they are uncovered. For example, I recall a woman who was recounting a painful memory in which her mom and dad were in a very bad fight, yelling and screaming at one another. At the height of the altercation, her dad loudly said that he wished her mother were dead, that he wished he had never married her or ever had the babies (meaning her). As this young lady recalled those words there was an overwhelming feeling that she did not matter and that she was not supposed to be alive – obvious lies that had led her more than once to consider suicide – obvious lies which Jesus easily addressed by sharing with her that all children are gifts from Him, made by His hands and are valuable (after that moment with the Lord she reports a lightness and joy in life which she has never before experienced!).
However there are other times when the deception is much more subtle. Amazingly, it may even include scripture (I guess it really isn’t all that amazing; remember, the devil used the words of God in his efforts to trip up both Eve and Jesus). For example, I was ministering to a young lady who had come in desiring to break free from years of bondage to sexual sin. In a particular session we ran into a roadblock of sorts in our efforts to get to the roots of that bondage; she could not seem to get past the present episodes. So I encouraged her to focus on the most recent event and share how she felt in the midst of that moment so we could ask Jesus to help us. She was quiet for a few minutes then simply said, “Jesus won’t help. He is ashamed of me and cannot look at me.” I asked her to help me understand what she was sensing and she continued: “Remember the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus? He was so ashamed and disgusted with her that He had to look down and pretend to write in the sand because He did not want to even see her face. He is ashamed of me and cannot look at me, either.”
I quickly appealed to the Holy Spirit for direction and clearly sensed I was supposed to read the rest of that account so I turned to John 8 and read out loud:
“At this, those who heard began to away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared, ‘go now and leave your life of sin.'” (John 8:9-11)
After I read those words I asked the Lord if there was anything He wanted to reveal to this young lady. She listened for a moment then shared this with me: “It was the accusers He did not want to look at. He looked at the woman – and He is looking at me – and He is not mad or disgusted. He wants to help me leave my life of sin.” There is still much to be done in her life but she knows He will walk her through it.
Straightforward or subtle, past or present, Jesus is still the answer.