Paul writes, 'If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.' Note the word 'caught'. Most of us who stumble thought at one time, 'That will never happen to me.' But it did. In a moment of weakness we yielded to evil. When this happens to someone in God's family we have a responsibility to restore them, regardless of the nature of the sin. In this Scripture this word 'restore' has medical overtones. It pictures a doctor resetting a broken limb
To restore someone Scripturally, we must help them in several ways. First, we must help them to acknowledge their failure. After his affair with Bathsheba, David prayed, '...[I have] sinned and done what is evil in your sight...' (Psalm 51:4 NIV). Secondly, we should help them to accept responsibility for their sin. Even though someone else may have been a contributing factor, we are still accountable to God. Thirdly, we must help them to repent. Repentance involves deep remorse, turning away from our sin, and moving in a new direction. Then, we must help them to make restitution. For example, someone who has done wrong needs to make amends when possible. We can help them to grow stronger through it.
Through failure, God teaches us lessons that keep us from wandering into similar situations in the future. We can help them to respond to God's correction with gratitude. Granted, this is not easy, but when a person comprehends God's purpose in such discipline - that we might '...share in His holiness' (Hebrews 12:10 NIV) - they begin to thank their heavenly Father for His loving correction. Indeed, it protects them from any root of bitterness springing up in the aftermath of sin.
I did something last night that i have mixed feelings about. I have such mixed feelings about it because part of me is so scared, yet the other part of me realises that it just proves how much i have changed as a person, from the inside out, for the better.
I have never had a completely honest relationship with a man in my entire life - until now.
I lied throughout my first marriage, about money. I lied about how much i spent, every single day. I didn't do that because i didn't love my husband. I just did that because i couldn't stop myself from spending money. If i told him the truth regarding how much i was spending, it would cause fights. So instead of learning how to be better with money, and learning that nothing i ever spent money on was going to make me, or my family happy - i lied about it. Just like with any other addiction, to me, money was all about lies.
I lied throughout my second marriage. I went to bed every night worried that my secrets would be discovered. I had briefly involved myself in prostitution before i met Danny, and i never told him about that. I tried to tell him once, when we first met. I brought the topic up to him, and the language that came out of his mouth when the topic of prostitution was even raised - "filthy whores" - is the main term that i recall him using, had me quickly realising that if i wanted him to love me, i could never tell him.
So i spent our entire relationship hiding this big secret from him. Towards the end of the relationship, when we were no longer living together, i chose to go back to that life, and for months i lived in fear that he would find out. Eventually my fears came true, and he did find out. All of my lies caught up to me in a more awful way than i could have ever imagined.
That day was bittersweet for me, almost. Part of me was horrified. I was embarrassed, and so ashamed. I lost who i thought was the love of my life, and my soul mate. He will never forgive me, and i probably don't deserve his forgiveness, in all honesty. It doesn't matter what he did wrong. There was no excuse, or reasonable explanation for my actions, or the lies that i told from day one to someone that i loved. Another part of me though, felt like a house had been lifted off of my shoulders. For the first time in my adult life, i had no secrets, or skeletons. I no longer had to toss and turn all night wondering how i was going to explain this lie, or that lie. I no longer had to try to remember what i had said. I no longer had to lie in bed and wonder if the next day was going to be the day that everything came crashing down around me.
My lies had caught up to me. I felt hurt, desperation, desolate despair, loss, and shame. My lies had caught up to me. I felt an amazing sense of relief. I no longer carried this enormously, heavy burden. I was lighter.
Last night, during dinner, Mr T was telling me about his first love. The entire relationship was based on lies - her lies - from day one. She kept lying to him, and he stayed with her. I asked him how on earth he could want to be with someone that had always lied to him. I asked him that question, while in the back of my mind, i was thinking about something that i needed to tell him, that he didn't know about me. I was dreading telling my Mr T this thing about me, because it is not something that i am all that proud of. In fact, it is the only thing in my life at the moment that causes me any shame. I don't know why it causes me so much shame. I am not doing anything wrong, but it does. Not telling Mr T about this one THING about me, had been weighing on my mind a lot lately. It was making me feel as though i was repeating past mistakes, and was not being entirely honest with him.
I will never have another relationship that is based on lies, half truths, or any kind of anything that is not total honesty, on my part. So i chose to tell Mr T this secret that i have. I told him this secret knowing that there was every chance that he could think less of me, and that is the last thing that i wanted. I realised though, that even worse than him thinking less of me because of what i had to tell him, would be him being in love with something that is not me, that is only half me, or that is a lie. I want him to love the real me, and that can't happen without total honesty. Anything short of total honesty is just a fantasy.
So i told him what i had to tell him. This morning, i have sat here for 3 hours wondering how to write about this.
Mr T didn't think my little secret was as big of a deal as i do. He says he doesn't think any less of me because of it. He is glad that i told him. It didn't upset him the way that thinking about it upsets me.
I am sitting here worried that he is thinking less of me, or that his feelings regarding me might change. He has assured me that is not the case, but i am still worried.
I am sitting here feeling relieved. I am thinking to myself that i would rather have had his feelings for me change, than to have not been completely honest with him, and allow him to continue to get stronger feelings for someone that is not even real.
I am sitting here feeling happy. I have proven to myself just how much i have really changed and grown these past couple of years. The old me would have gone to extreme lengths to hide something that i was not all that proud of, from someone that i loved, in a crazy effort to get them to love me back.
The new me is determined to never repeat that mistake again.
I will never carry that enormous, dishonest weight again. I would rather be honest and be alone, than lie and be loved for something that i am not, i guess.
I learned something pretty cool about myself last night.