I am, among other things, a minister. I am called to walk with others toward freedom from bondage and toward recognition of their identity in Christ. I’ve spent countless hours studying, considering, praying for and ministering in freedom. I am thankful God has called me to this purpose and embrace the opportunity as an honor.
A few years ago, in the middle of this calling, I got into an argument with my wife. It was an ugly argument, and I said ugly things. What came out of me wasn’t free at all. It was depraved and destructive.
Following this argument, I went into a kind of dark hole. I was embarrassed, but more than that, I was doubtful. I was full of doubt regarding the contradiction between what I believed and knew and ministered in compared to this blatant display of depravity. The fact that I had this kind of anger and venom in me caused me to question everything.
- I questioned whether or not I was a phony. If this was going to be a way I might act, is there any integrity in my ministry?
- I questioned whether or not I was disqualified. If I do these kinds of things or even if I am capable of them, am I qualified to help others?
- I questioned the very idea of freedom. If a so-called freedom minister is so full of darkness that it comes spilling out, is there even such a thing as freedom in the first place?
Those are the questions I was asking as I prayed and considered the events of the argument. The next day, I received a group text to five or six of us from a pastor friend also called to walk alongside those engaged in the quest for freedom. He explained in his text that he needed prayer as he’d lost his temper in his home the night before. The aftermath of his anger was evident in damaged relationships and broken trust.
Almost instinctively, I typed a text in response. My response to him was, “You win. By raising your hand, inviting us in and sending this text, you win.” That was it. That was the answer to my questions.
Freedom isn’t the absence of sin but the willingness to expose darkness to light. Freedom isn’t living a perfect life, but living life’s imperfections with others to disarm the accusations of guilt and shame arising from our faults. Freedom is simply the ability to raise your hand. Raising your hand is the first step on the return journey to an inheritance that abounds beyond our limitations.
– From “Transforming the Prodigal Soul” available here