I just posted this image and the following response to The Parallel Bible – the world’s first visual and social Bible app – and thought it also belonged here as a milestone on my path:
Matthew 5:25-26 – “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him on the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.” (WEB)
We take ourselves to court, judging and accusing harshly, and sentencing ourselves to silent prisons from which there is no release. You will never get out when you hold yourself in contempt. It will cost you everything. When Jesus was preaching on the mount about making peace with our enemy before coming to tithe, I propose He was including our own worst enemy: Self.
I’m currently dealing with a whole trove of self-contempt I never knew was beneath the surface. But it keeps popping up to complicate situations in all areas of my life, so I’ve decided to confront it head on.
This photo and post actually comes from a prayer time I was having with Papa earlier this evening. I thought I was repenting and making sure all the last of some ugly sin in my past was covered – again. Suddenly, mid-sentence, I was startled silent – Papa literally rose up within and very sternly said, “STOP. I will NOT allow you to beat, condemn, discount, or hold (hostage) your self any longer! IT IS FINISHED! I don’t even know what you’re talking about anymore, but it certainly does not sound like the woman I know you to be.”
See, when Jesus died, He covered every last deed. He sent your past as far as the east is from the west…as the Cageless Birds song goes, “Guilt went looking for my past but only found Love.” But our hearts are not open to receiving that Love if we’ve locked them away in prisons of contempt and unforgiveness. They can see it through the bars and know it’s for them, but they can never fully receive or participate…and that deferred hope of Love makes the heart sick. And a sick heart becomes the wellspring of a life half-alive.
Release yourself today. Make peace with your enemy, and watch as the fruit your life produces to tithe at Jesus’ feet sweeten and increase by the bushels. The most beautiful offering we can give is our hearts, totally open and free to be loved every bit as much as He died to make possible.
The original post can be found on The Parallel Bible by clicking HERE or looking me up by username (LilWhiteHouse).