I am a thirty-five year old mess. This well known fact is my newest observation of myself. Those who know me would say “Duh, Meisha.” It’s obvious. I have no job, no home, not a dime to my name. I have broken relationships with everyone I know. My life, up to this point, has been a web of deceit and lies and just utter depravity.
The really disgusting fact about my life is that I considered myself to be an “okay” person. I love people. I’m giving, I care, I feel for others. I help little old ladies carry their groceries to the car. I listen and talk with other people who are struggling and I try to offer advice or a shoulder to cry on. In comparison to say Hitler, I am an “okay” person. But next to Christ, my sins are embarrassingly clear. I lie, I cheat and I steal. But I didn’t murder a whole nation of people. I don’t molest children. I don’t do this or I don’t do that.
That is how I’ve lived my life the past thirty-five years. Well, I’m not as bad as that guy, so I’m doing okay. It could always be worse. This is true, it could always get worse… but what I didn’t understand is that it doesn’t have to get any worse! In fact, it can get so much better!
Recognizing my sin for exactly what it is has been an eye-opening experience, let me tell you. And if I hadn’t come to TTG I’m not sure if I ever would have even noticed the degree to which I was sinning. My sins were never as bad as the next person but they were getting progressively worse. I hadn’t even really noticed how bad it had gotten because the scale to which I judged myself just slid a little further down as my sins piled on. When it got right down to the nitty gritty of it however, I realized just how much of a mess I am in.
All the things that I do not have are a direct result of my actions. I can blame this person or that person for what I needed and didn't get or should have been told and wasn’t. But when it comes right down to it, my life is a mess because I have made it that way. I have been holding myself to a sliding scale of depravity. What I have is directly because of what I have or have not done in my life. I am constantly telling myself that at least I'm not as bad as that guy. I’m a good person and I am entitled to things. This is simply not true. I am not good. At all. And I am entitled to nothing.
Jesus was good and he got nothing in this life. He was tortured and killed for being spotless and I’m expecting to have my children back and everyone’s respect and trust because I’ve been a lying cheating drug addict my entire life. Now this might sound totally crazy to someone else reading this but that is exactly how I thought. Well I don’t molest my kids and that guy does and he has his kids so I deserve my kids. That woman does drugs every night after she gets off work and she has a job. I should be able to do drugs and have a job too. That woman slept with my husband so I’m going to go sleep with hers and show her how that feels. Wrong, wrong, sick and wrong.
My whole attitude of life has been affected by my new understanding of Christ and I am so excited to be on this path of discovery! Every day is a learning experience that cuts down to the very center of me and my sinful heart. Every day I’m exposing my sinful nature and holding myself accountable. I base my expected behaviors and actions on the stationary perfect scale of Christ. Gone away is this ever climbing degree of depravity that has ruled my life.
Each sin was progressively worse than the previous and I had to keep changing the basis for this scale of judgement as my sin progressed. Eventually I would surpass Hitler and then what? Who could I compare myself to then? What I never fully grasped was that I AM NO BETTER THAN HITLER! Sure I haven't killed a million people, but I have killed someone. I haven’t molested my children but I’ve robbed them in other ways that are equally as destructive. I’ve been negligent. I have had affairs. I have lied, a lot and stolen. I’ve been a sinner since birth and who I should have been holding myself accountable to was Christ and perhaps I wouldn’t have fallen so far. Who could know?
I could beat myself up about the what-if’s and coulda shoulda woulda’s but the important thing is that I am aware now and I am making the necessary changes. TTG has been instrumental in showing me the areas I need to improve on in my life and for that I am forever grateful.
There are a lot of circumstances in my life that I could have used as an excuse to for some of the things I have done. I could say that because I started using drugs with my father at a young age it caused me to live a life of crime because that is how I was raised. I could say that because my husband beat up on me and left me I had every right to go out and have fun so I could forget the pain that I felt. There are so many things I could say, but I am just going to stop right there.
Many people use the excuse of circumstance. Why? I think because it is easy. I also think that people do not understand what the real issue is. I am not minimizing anyones circumstances, believe me, I can empathize with rough times. I am saying that we don't address our true issues. We find our answers in places like Cosmo magazine, secular counselors, drugs or alcohol, and so many other places. We look to the world.
So what do we turn to in the moment when our husband hits us, we feel lonely, we are craving a high, we lost our job, our kids are rebelling, fill in the blank?! We turn to the instruction that our Father gives us in His word...our Bibles. It is living and active. 2 Timothy 3:16 says-All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work-.
Gods Word is for our instruction. We don't have excuses, we have heart problems...sin issues. Our circumstances are sometimes unfortunate but doesn't God promise to work out everything for our good (Romans 8:28)?! Doesn't God say in His word that He will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). You can trust in our Father for any answer you will ever need!
The world wants to suck you in and make you its slave, lie to you, tell you that if you just buy this one thing or date this one kind or man or weigh 115 pounds or .............then you will be happy. Our Father who is in heaven and needs absolutley nothing from us, whom we have rebelled against and turned away from, stepped down out of His kingdom and died a horrific death on a cross taking on His own ferocious wrath so that we could be saved.
Christian, brother, sister, the next time that something happens and your circumstances become less than we think we deserve.....stop and remember that God has given you everything you need and He is on the throne!!!
Love you guys,
Here at Through the Gate we have classes everyday. On Friday morning we have a class called Christian Conscience.. We use material from a series by R.C. Sproul, Having a Christian Conscience. Our instructor, Pamela Jones, has our class set up as a table talk discussion. I think that discussion is key in teaching any class. I will explain why.
At Throught the Gate we accept people coming from prison, from jail, or maybe their next step is jail or prison and this is their last opportunity to "straighten up". Whatever the case may be, we are concerned about their belief in Christ and teaching them the doctrines of the Bible and how to live as a christian in a sin cursed world. In order to know anything about them at all we must have discussion with them. What better way to do this than to teach and discuss.
In class Pam has different points about things such as sin and bondage to it, freedom in Christ, worldly morals and the teaching of Christ, and other important topics in the life of a christian. She brings up a topic, we discuss our thoughts on it and then we seek truth in God's word. We know and agree that the Bible is our authority, so if a new believer or someone who has been damaged by some false teaching thinks differently or doesn't understand we can work it out right there and bring to light God's word for them in such a way that they can apply it to their life.
This table talk teaching has proved to be very effective. It brings people out of their fear of talking or saying the wrong thing because the environment is loving and personal. The instructor is not standing in front of the class, but sitting with the students. The questions are given in an open form, so that everyone can say what they think. Everyone prays and agree's on the most important thing-the Bible is the boss!!!
This class is so much fun and we are learning so much about God and about each other. I recommend anyone who teaches a class to do a table talk. You will get deeper in to what you are teaching and your participants will get so much more from the class! Discussion is key!!!
If anyone is interested in learning more about table talk classes or Through the Gate contact us and we will be happy to help!!!