We met with our nature walk group a few weeks after Rand broke his leg. Someone in the group asked what had happened. I recited my attempt at a light-hearted version of the event. She immediately zeroed in on the undercurrents of shame.
Friend: There is no condemnation.Me: (nervous/embarrassed laugh, nodding head in surface agreement)Friend: No, I can see that you're still condemning yourself. You're believing a lie. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.Me: (now really listening) Thank you.
I had heard the same words from my husband, my mother, my sister-in-law, but for some reason, from the mouth of this virtual stranger, it felt as though it came directly from the heart of God.
The following Sunday a missionary spoke at church. She told the story of a woman in the village where she worked. The woman was extremely bitter. The missionary later learned that the son of this woman had been imprisoned for 5 or 6 years and was still awaiting trial. There was a local medicine man who would utter special incantations for $85. These incantations were guaranteed to result in the speedy release of the prisoner. This woman was ashamed of what she had done, presumably theft and prostitution, to raise the necessary funds. When she delivered the cash, the medicine man insisted she sleep with him. In desperation, she agreed. Her son was not released. She was eaten up with shame and bitterness. Some of the local women shared with her the gospel - that there is forgiveness and grace and a different way of life available in Jesus. She believed and is now a Follower of Jesus.
Those words, "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus," jumped to my mind. I feel a little silly comparing my suburban mama woes with this woman struggling for survival, but it's the same God who has freed us both. Her son was released within a few days of her decision.