You know, the bible says it rains on the just and the unjust. Sure, you had trials before you got saved, and you went through a lot. The only difference is once you were hopeless with no way out. The darkness enveloped you and there was no sign of light. Then one day, up out of nowhere, the prison guard came and unlocked the door to your cell and handed you your pardon. Shaking, you glance down at the piece of paper, not expecting to see the great drops of blood that have fallen there. Tears of unbelief fill your eyes as you look up and see your Redeemer standing just outside your cell. He is smiling, ready to show you what all you’ve missed. But, you have yet to take his hand. Softly, he speaks “Do not fear. Will you trust me?” You turn to look at the prison walls around you. They are so familiar to you. “Do I really want out?” You say. “I don’t think I will ever be truly free.” But, you know in your heart that if you stay in that prison, that dungeon, you will die. It will be slow and painful, but it is sure to happen. You glance back up at your Redeemer. He is crying. In his right hand he holds a white garment- spotless and as pure as the driven snow. In his left hand he holds a crown, ready and willing to place them upon you. You edge toward the door. As you do, the darkness slowly fades and you begin to see those things in your cell that have held you captive there. There is fear, rejection, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment, low self -esteem and depression. There are so many you lose count. The stench becomes more evident the closer you get to the door. You gaze down at your clothes and notice the rags you are wearing barely cover you. Your Redeemer whispers- “Beloved, trust me, do not fear, I am right here.”
Your heart is racing as fear begins to rise up from the mound of chains in your cell. You glance at your Redeemer, but fear begins to talk. “This is what you are, accept it, this is what you will always be. You could fail. Aren’t you afraid of the unknown?” Yet, you look down at the pardon in your hand. Your Redeemer speaks. “While yet you were a sinner, I died for you.”
Rejection begins to rise. “No one will ever accept you. You are of no worth.” Your Redeemer speaks “You are accepted in the beloved. You are so worthy that I died for you.”
Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse begin to rise. “Look at you, you are dirty, unholy and unfit for God. Your Redeemer speaks. “Though your sins are as scarlet, I have washed you whiter than snow.”
Abandonment begins to rise. “Everyone leaves. Eventually you will be left alone with no one.” Your Redeemer speaks. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Low self-esteem begins to rise. “You are not pretty enough, thin enough or good enough for anyone to love.” Your Redeemer speaks. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I created you in my image.”
Depression begins to rise. “You have no hope. You will never be happy again.” Your Redeemer speaks. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
For every chain there is a key, the Redeemer’s words. Anger rises in you because you realize you have been lied to and standing outside your cell is truth - THE TRUTH.
So, you have a choice. Do you stay in the confines of your cell listening to the lies that have imprisoned you? Or do you cross the threshold into life more abundantly; life that is full of joy and peace and a Redeemer who is crazy about you? The choice is yours.
This writing is not about salvation. This writing is about freedom. When you accept Christ as your Savior, you accept the free gift he is offering. You could live a million years here on earth and will never be able to “pay your way” to heaven. It took the spotless, perfect Lamb of God to buy us back. That is what redeem means- to buy back. Yet, how many of us are still in prison? It is not about saying the prayer of salvation and holding our breath until we die and then, and only then, will we experience glory. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. The sins we have committed have been forgiven when we have been washed in his blood. The sins committed AGAINST us are what I am talking about; rejection, abuse and abandonment to name a few. I am beginning to understand this “relationship” thing with Jesus a little more each day. I understand now why Jesus was so adamant against the lies the Pharisees told. You see, the Pharisees were the prison wardens of their day while Jesus was passing out pardons through the words he spoke. Words like “I came that you might have life and life more abundantly. If the son sets you free, you shall be free indeed. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
No wonder the Pharisees sought to kill him. Jesus offered a way to freedom through love while the Pharisees offered their kind of freedom through control and manipulation. I don’t know where you are today in your relationship with Jesus. Maybe you have accepted the pardon and crossed the threshold taking the hand of your Redeemer, leaving those chains behind to rust, never to put them on again. Maybe you have accepted the pardon, yet you still are very aware of the chains that have kept you bound. Maybe you have yet to accept the pardon and you are sitting in your cell bowed low by the chains of bondage. Maybe you are not even aware that there is a Redeemer waiting to pardon you. One thing I do know is that in any case, the Redeemer is still standing outside the door, waiting. He is still standing with a garment of snow white and a crown to place upon his prince or princess. His hand is extended. Will you cross the threshold and be free?