I’m not talking medieval torture, but the barrage of negativity that persistently bangs against our door.
For some, it’s fear. Unreasonable, unrelenting fear. The vague sense that something bad could happen to us or someone we love. An undefined sense of doom that hangs over us like a cloud.
For others it’s temptation. The incessant pull to engage in thoughts or activities that promise fulfillment and then shame us horribly. Food. Shopping. Porn. Gambling. They lure us in and then nail us with a right hook that drops us to our knees.
Torment covers a gamut of areas. The enemy is good at setting us up to fail and then accusing us for the failure.
Tonight I tripped into sin. A lie of omission. A manipulation of words that kept truth in the shadows.
Like the scene from the Pink Panther in which Peter Seller’s character, Inspector Clouseau, walks into a hotel and spots a man and a dog standing in the foyer. He asks the man, “Does your dog bite?” The man says, “No.”
When Clouseau reaches to pet the dog, the animal tries to attack him. Clouseau leaps back and turns his offended gaze to the man and indignantly states, “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite.”
The man barely raises an eyebrow as he replies, “That’s not my dog.”
My words were truthful, but they hid the real truth. The motive in my heart was to deflect away from my error. To keep from being judged.
But once the words were airborne, I felt guilt. Lots of it. Even after I repented. Shame stalked me, condemning me for lying.
The torment became so much bigger than my poor choice. It was a mountain I couldn’t shake free.
Then God reminded me that He is not the author of guilt or shame and I really needed to nail those lying spirits to the cross.
So I did. I broke agreements with them and asked God to remove them far from me.
Holy cow! Something lifted off me and I felt joy and freedom welling up inside.
I asked Holy Spirit what He wanted to give me in place of the guilt and shame and He said, “Redeeming love.” Isn’t that beautiful?
So often we accept what the enemy throws at us without questioning it. If we feel badly about ourselves, then we must be bad. We snuggle dejectedly into the tattered blanket of the enemy’s lies.
Is it possible that not everything we feel originates from us?
What if we picked up our sword (Eph. 6:10-20) and started standing our ground (James 4:7). What if we went after the joy and peace that is promised to us?
What if it worked? What if we started guarding our thought life and rejecting negativity and gossip when it tries to engage us?
What if we looked for the best, forgave quickly, and loved the unlovely?
What if we let Love transform us?
Holy Spirit, guide me into deeper places in Your heart, where the tempter can’t reach me and fear has no hold on me. Teach me how to fight for pure thoughts. Thoughts that are full of goodness and kindness toward myself and others. Help me to know You in deeper ways. To walk free from what entangles my mind. Speak Your goodness to my heart so that I can walk in Your freedom. In Jesus’ name, amen.