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Grace, Condemnation, & The Skeletons We Hide Within Our Souls

“For many people, the hard thing about ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ isn’t loving their neighbor, it’s loving themselves.” – Donald Miller

We all have a war taking place inside our souls, constantly fighting for our allegiance. Lust, pride, greed, and bitterness drain our souls like a leach, yet we often embrace those enemies as if they were our closest allies. Whenever an alliance and friendship is developed, there are always consequences. In the case of the human heart, living with such parasites in our veins often leaves us reeling with one grotesque beast:

Condemnation.

If you’re like me, it’s easier to overlook areas of weakness in others, while hammering down the fire of hell upon yourself for those same struggles. My own worst enemy looks back at me in the mirror every day, constantly fighting against the person I was created to be.

The human heart is broken and in need of a remedy. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that He is that very remedy my soul desires. The war within will still be there, but there is a new Spirit within who wages war against my resident evils.

When I was in high school and college, it was common for me to live in self-condemnation over my failures and fumblings. Lust? I’m surely going to purgatory (even though I’m not even Catholic). Doubt God? I may be in danger of hell. Curse at someone else in rage? What if I’m the son of Satan? I hated myself more than anyone could imagine. On the outside I was someone my friends called a “good Christian”, all while I called myself far worse in the depths of my own heart.

What’s amazing is that I always found a reason to doubt the forgiveness and grace of Jesus…Even in the Scriptures, it is quite clear the grace that Jesus offers us:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1-2

Me? Oh! I could find a reason that those words didn’t apply to the wreckage in my heart! Charles Manson was allotted more grace than I permitted myself to receive.

Over the years, grace and rest in the scars of Jesus have become much more welcome in my soul than ever before. Why? Life has a way of breaking us to where we desperately need God’s grace. Nothing we can do will earn it and we know it for the first time. We truly know it.

I still struggle with this weird, beautiful, and mysterious thing called grace. Yet, even so, I love the taste and the sound of its presence. It’s my heroin and it’s given in abundance in the scars of Jesus.

Maybe you are your own worst enemy, constantly tearing yourself to shreds in your soul. I don’t know what evils lay deep within, but we all have our skeletons. They are, as Brennan Manning once called it, “imposters” within us. The real you was created for life, love, grace, mercy, beauty, and creativity. You weren’t mean to carry evil within your heart.

Condemnation is not your ally. Greed is not your friend. Lust is not love. Bitterness doesn’t fix the hurts.

Your soul longs for the grace of Jesus.