I felt like starting this Blog up again to help vocalise and teach some of the lessons I have learnt over the last few years.
I want to start by sharing a story. I checked with the guy who is the subject of this story and he has given me permission to share his story. I will keep names and place out to protect him and his heart as we are called to do as Christ followers.
This story is about a 20 year old Bible College student who was so excited to start studying God’s word and what his ministry is going to look like because God has told him that this is where is being called.
However, after a month or so, his devotion time started to dissipate and he starts talking to a girl at his college but this is not talking about Jesus or Ministry or God. They were talking about how many relationships they had been in which was really innocent to start but then it started escalate to sexual topics. They start talking about what them having sex would look like? Where they would do it? They even started sending nude pictures to each other.
All this is going on while he is teaching about Jesus. He is leading worship on a Sunday morning. He is preaching about how God can deliver you from your past. He believes this but doesn’t practice it.
A few days before he is about to start his second year at college; Checking his emails he sees one from his tutor asking for a meeting. This seems like a normal occurrence but this was not. His tutor starts asking about the images and whether it was true. He asks whether they did have sex. Whether they had sex on campus.
The student’s heart sinks into his stomach. He admits to everything that he had done but refused to admit that to the stuff he hadn’t. He gets told there is going to be a formal disciplinary hearing with the tutor and two of the senior management. He explains to them exactly what he had said to his tutor. They seem to not believe him.
Two days later, He gets called to the senior management for the decision. He gets offered to leave and have a neutral reference. The other option is get expelled and fight. The guilt he once felt turns into pride, anger and a sense of injustice that the girl getting to stay at the college overcomes him. He takes that letter of expulsion and storms out the office. Filled with the rage, pride and hurt. He types his appeal letter. Each sentence is the swing of a judgemental, indignant, self-righteous and heartbroken sword that smashes into the character of each member of the disciplinary panel.
It didn’t matter how well crafted or how well he articulated his hurting, tinted view of these people. They were always going to up hold the decision.
Shame Turns to Pride Turns to Regret
As we see in this story, there is a stages that I believe every person goes through when dealing with sin and confrontation and rebuking. What we see initially is that there is a deep sense of shame. This is where you realise people have sound out about that skeleton in your closet. The light starts shining in the darkness of the heart. I believe that everyone feels this when secret sin is uncovered that gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach that means you nearly ‘chunder everywhere.’ The feeling that make your head drop. the feeling that you get when you stare at the sun without shades on. This feeling is a good feeling. Not in the sense that it feels good but that shame shows areas we need to correct and have the transformation of the mind (Romans 12:2) It can make you realise that what your doing needs to be got rid of before you move into God’s purpose.
However, what happened with the man in our story is that the feeling Shame soon shift and morph like a power ranger into an ugly monster of Pride. Pride is what happens when you take the wrong attitude to change. It is when the enterprise puts its shields up. It is Orlando Bloom punches Justin Bieber. It’s a when you don’t have a teachable spirit or respect for those in authority over you. You like what your doing it feels good. It’s not hurting anyone. It’s just sex, It’s just getting drunk, It’s just missing one meeting, It’s just missing one lecture, It’s just porn, It’s just one joint.
This attitude will cause the Lord to look at you and go “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23) and its because of your timidness that will cause the Lord on the day of judgement to spit you out because you acted like you didn’t need him. (Revelation 3:16f.) You had enough money, you were kind of happy in your relationship. You thought you were living in the White House when actually you were living in the favelas. When pride sets it causes your heart to harden to God’s work. It causes you to lash out at those around you. It causes you to resist the authority over you. We see this in our story where our lad fights and fights against what he saw as injustice. He offered blow after blow against his Rocky Balboa and he didn’t even make him stumble. Thats the thing with Pride and taking punches out of that place it will never make a dent. The phrase ‘pride comes before the fall.’ I think is actually slightly in accurate. I think pride comes while falling and after the fall. When the ground beneath you starts sliding you valiantly try to run back up the hill rather than sliding down the hill into the arms of a loving father, because the father will always catch you. (Psalm 37:24)
The end of our story is different than you think because overtime if you stay connected to church then this Pride you experience will change into Regret. Regret for hurting the loved ones trying to support you. Regret for launching character attacks at people who want the best for you and for the rest of the college. Regret for the sin you had. This place of regret can either cause a pity party or will cause healing and growth.
In our story, The guy felt that regret and he then moved that regret into change and healing and freedom. If you dwell in God’s presence, he brings healing and freedom because “where the spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom.” ( 2 Corinthians 3:17) because of the Triune God. there is freedom in the spirit and “if the Son sets you free, You are free indeed.” ( John 8:36)
Healing Leads to Calling
The end to this story is a happy one. This man did not walk away from church because he was hurt by it. He walked further into church because the further into church you run and better you are plugged in the more of Christ and God you will absorb. He still struggles with some of the problems he went through but because of the church he has systems and supports to stop him going back there. He is now chasing his calling again. He is back at a different Bible College and is ministering in a local church. God is moving in his life.
We can learn that all things. I mean “ALL things will work for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) When you go through a storm and you fail and stumble and feel so inadequate. God will use this storm to build you up and make you stronger. Like a body builder has to go through the pain of breaking muscle tissue to get stronger. The same way God has to break and tear parts of your life for you to grow and be strengthened in our faith and trust in God.
My hope is that this post would build you up and strengthen you in the your faith. I believe that this post could bring and will bring healing to people who have done through suffering and has experience extreme diversions from the calling they believe God has for you.