The first time I heard my name called as a speaker, I felt my hands clam up and the lump in my throat protrude. Reluctantly, I climbed the steps of the stage and took my place behind the podium. I was shaking. You see, I had been asked to share something deeply personal about my own history. This crowd of women, most of whom I had never met, wanted to hear my testimony, the very journey I had walked thus far with and without Christ.
It was worse than being naked in front of the sea of strangers, because it was my soul I was revealing. In order to have arrived at this candid point of sharing, I had undergone a deep level of regret for past sins. Coming face to face with the ugliness of my sins, and long arm of cruelness, which had reached itself into the lives of my loved ones, was not an easy sight to behold. Perhaps the hardest part was forgiveness. This extended beyond the merciful forgiveness of God and others, but the real challenge rested in forgiving myself. That needed mercy toward myself is often withheld far longer than it should be. Finally, at the end of this long road of recognition and repentance, healing had taken place. Letting go of the anxiety of the past, placing wounds and broken pieces in the hands of the Lord, and finally finding peace.
I didn’t really want to share my account, as it seemed to offer no benefit apart from humility. But I knew I had to, in boasting the goodness of the Lord. When I share my testimony, I quite emphatically kick Satan in the teeth, breaking his power over me and finally getting free! No longer can he whisper in my ear, “If only they knew this or that about you.” No longer can he taunt me with past failings. His power is gone and broken, leaving him only the object of trapping me henceforth.
Because of this victory won in giving testimony, others also hear and believe it is possible for them to break free the fetters that bind them. Satan is outdone in an outrage of defeat, which spreads quickly across the ears and hearts of the microphone’s reach.
So what comes of us boasting in our sin?
Many times I have heard it said and many times I have been asked, “Do you truly have any regrets of the past, as the past has made you who you are today.” As if it were the case, that without every single molecule of air I have breathed, I somehow would not be wholly who I am right now, in this moment. Perhaps I would not. Perhaps I would be better. I certainly know that I am striving to be better, and in doing so, can never appreciate or boast in my sins. Had I the foresight and wisdom, I would undo choices I had made, even at the cost of not learning a hard lesson, that has somehow made me who I am today. Perhaps my edge would be smoother, and I would offer others the benefit of the doubt more liberally. Even at the cost of being faulted as more innocent and naive, I would change all that I could, were I able.
If that which we cannot change, changes us, then let it be for the better! May the lessons we’ve learned benefit our fellow-man and increase our desire to strive for what is true, good, and beautiful; the face of the Lord!
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. –Reinhold Niebuhr
Copyright 2016 Kimberly Cook