Beauty From Ashes – Part 4

The renewing of our souls will extend no further than our honest acknowledgement of our inner brokenness.

PART 4 IN A SERIES

The Blind

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.  They are unable to see the glorious light of the good news.  They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT).

Blindness is a characteristic that needs little explanation.  We all have experienced times where we lacked the ability to see, even if we might have 20/20 vision.  Again, Jesus was certainly speaking hope to those who were literally blind, but more significantly was speaking to every one of us who has, at times, been blind to the truth and the realities of Jesus, His reckless love for us, and His desire to remove the blinders from our eyes.

At times in my own life, I have allowed “blind spots” to creep into my line of line of sight.  Typically, these have consisted of unresolved conflict, an attitude of self-righteousness, unrepented sin, or chronic toxic shame from my past.   When I’ve finally let down my guard to allow Holy Spirit to reveal these to me, God has been so kind and compassionate in how He has opened my eyes to help me see more clearly.

Jesus is willing and able to bring sight to even the very worst of our blindness.  But first and foremost, we must be willing to admit we cannot see.

The Oppressed

The term “oppressed” in the Bible refers to those who have been crushed, bruised, taken advantage of, or are victims of abuse or violence.  Jesus came to set free the oppressed.  He doesn’t offer the answer.  Jesus is the answer for the shame and pain of oppression.

He came to set us free from oppression in a manner that doesn’t ignore the reality of our situation.  Jesus provides us hope and freedom in the midst of our situation.  And for some reading this book, we may be unable to entirely remove ourselves from our oppressor.  Even then, Jesus desires that we find freedom in our soul which no human oppressor can ever take from us!

Oppressed womanJesus reveals the God of perfect justice.  Every judgement we make as human beings will be flawed because every human being is flawed.  We can only see life through clouded lenses.  We must humbly acknowledge that only the God of perfect justice is able to see things clearly and knows how to make all things right.

Don’t miss Jesus’s powerful words in Romans 12:19 (NIV): “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

When we have been victims of oppression, we often become the perpetrators of oppression in another person’s life.  A worthy reminder: “Hurt people hurt people!”  This is the very nature of generational sin and shame.  We duplicate the very same destructive shame into our children that we experienced while we were children ourselves.

In the death of Jesus, we are able to completely see the justice and the mercy of God work in perfect harmony.  Sin’s penalty is paid.  Sin’s forgiveness is provided.  Jesus is our substitute, taking the penalty that our sin deserved, so that He who is rich in mercy and grace offers us His undeserved love (see Ephesians 2:4-5).

This paradox of justice and mercy must guide us in our journey to freedom.  Mercy in the form of complete forgiveness through Jesus is the key that frees us from our oppressors.  When we choose to unconditionally forgive our oppressors in our hearts, we release ourselves from the grip of shame they put us in.  When we trust Jesus’s promise that He alone will avenge the wrongs others have done to us, we find an indescribable freedom in our souls.  By trusting Jesus’s promises of mercy for our souls and justice to our oppressors, we introduce a legacy of true freedom into a thousand generations that will come after us.

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