“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. . . . Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7: 21, 24)
I’ve always loved Christian before-and-after stories—those heart-touching tales about those who were lost and then found, whose lives were changed by an encounter with the ever-gracious Savior. They’re wonderful, juicy true-makeover tales with irresistible happy endings.
The trouble is, the “before” in those stories is almost always “before I knew Christ.” The implication is that once a person accepts the Lord, she stops sinning and lays all her brokenness outside the door. And that’s just not true—or it’s just a fraction of the reality most “good Christians” I know experience.
We’ll admit that if we’re pressed. We’ll even make a point of telling people that “we’re all sinners.” Yet we’re pretty quick to cover up our deeper failings. There are things we’ll confess and others we don’t dare mention.
We tell ourselves we must keep a good witness—you know, keep God looking good. More often, I think, we cover up the ugly stuff to protect ourselves. Because we don’t know how to handle pain or because, deep down, we’re not sure if God can really handle who we really are and what we’ve really done.
But when we do that, we send the message to those who are hurting, who are broken, who are truly weary and heavy laden, that they are not welcome in our churches and our lives. Especially if those hurting, broken people are already Christians! Especially if they’re honest and admit they’re losing the battle and don’t know where to turn.
And when we send that message—even to ourselves—I believe we’re actually working against God. Because broken, hurting, and honest people are exactly who God wants in His churches. Those are the people He wants on His side, because they’re the ones He can really do something with.
You see, God can work miracles with pain. He can make short work of sin and guilt. It’s pride and dishonesty and self-deception that slow down His rescue efforts.
The Lord knows what we’re like—what we’re capable of, what we’ve actually done. And He can handle it. There’s nothing we can throw at Him that He cannot handle and help us with—as long as we let Him.
But letting him is a choice we all have to make.
We can work hard on our “good Christian girl” image and keep our brokenness hidden. Or we can choose to open up our lives and depend absolutely on the love and forgiveness of One who gave up His own life so we could live free of condemnation. To trust Him with our sin and brokenness so He can teach us what it really means to be whole, healthy, and “found”—before, after, and for the rest of our lives.
From: Confessions of a Good Christian Girl by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan. All rights reserved.
Confessions of Good Christian Girl
You already know the women you’ll meet in this book. They may sit beside you in the pew . . . or join you at small group . . . or touch your heart from a speaker’s podium. They have all been saved. They all love the Lord. And yet . . .
•One struggles with sucidal despair
•Another is involved with adultery, pornography, or a same-sex attraction
•Another endures regular beatings – or worse – by someone who claims to love her
•Another is divorced . . . or thinking about it
•This one drinks secretly or “doctor shops” for pain pills
•That one wrestles with depression or bipolar disorder
•And many others feel they can never be thin enough, beautiful enough, successful enough . . . or Christian enough to be loved or accepted. They’re all good Christian girls who have been broken by sin – their own and others.They all needed the honest, life-giving truth at the heart of this book. Do you?
Tammy Maltby addresses issues that aren’t discussed much in church circles – private sins that she and other women have battled.
Order here: http://tammymaltby.com/confessions