…God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:5-9 (RSV)
A number of years ago, I was in the process of doing a lot of fearless soul searching, hunting down in my heart any “roots of bitterness” that were bearing “bitter fruit” in my life. I did this so that I could get a fresh start after being away from God for a long time. I really wanted to “clean house” inside. When I discovered, through prayer and reflection, an old soul wound, I would look carefully beneath it for any hidden sin of mine, especially any unforgiveness, knowing that God can’t heal the wounds in me until the “infection” is cleaned out. Forgiveness is a command from Jesus to me [remember, “Forgive us…as we forgive…”?]; the healing is His business.
By the way, we sometimes hold on to grudges as our “right” (given the way we were offended against) because we falsely believe that, in holding on to unforgiveness, we are protecting ourselves. That actually doesn’t work. In fact, it just keeps us stuck, and blocks the healing energy of the Holy Spirit from pentrating our defense system. Forgiveness doesn’t condone a wrong; it simply hands the whole thing over to God and lets Him be the judge and jury instead of me.
In any case, I recently remembered a rather interesting dream I had at that time. I dreamed that I was in the basement of the house I grew up in, but there wasn’t any light down there. In the utter darkness of my dream, I groped my way to a light fixture, pulled the cord, but the light didn’t work. In my dream, I felt dismayed, but I made my way, gingerly shuffling along, onward to another light – which also didn’t work. Growing more distressed, I pushed on in the dark to the last light, my final hope as far as the dream was concerned.
Lo and behold – this one worked! I was relieved for a moment, but as I turned around, I spied a huge pile of my dirty laundry, just sitting on the floor of the basement in a heap. Distressed, dismayed, discouraged – that’s what I felt, but only for a moment. For in the next moment, I remembered: “There’s a washing machine down here! All I need to do is to bring my dirty laundry over there and wash it, and then all will be well!” I don’t remember the exact words, as the dream was many years ago. However, I do remember the enormous relief that washed over me at that realization…And then I awoke.
I immediately saw what the dream was telling me. My sins – my dirty laundry – is deep down, in my “basement”, hidden in darkness. As I undertake a sincere search for what’s amiss, aided by the wondrous light of God’s Word and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the “searcher of hearts”, I discover what needs to be confessed and brought to the Place of Cleansing; the forgiveness wrought for all people by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. It is His holy blood, shed for all, that brings about this incredible, awesome exchange: His righteousness for our sinfulness.
Remembering that dream now, I feel only a profound gratitude, and a determination to stay in the light. I must tell myself the truth about myself so that I may abide – remain – in Truth and Love, for infinite mercy awaits me there.
What a Savior!