I received a brief message from a trusted friend that said: “I was reading Isaiah 30:15 and was led to pray for you. Blessings on this day my friend.” Not knowing this verse by heart, I went to it. What I was anticipating in that moment was an encouraging verse that might affirm me in a positive way. What I got was this: “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing ...”
One thing I’ve learned to do is when God speaks, I should listen. And, with this trusted friend, who’s also a ministry leader in our community, in knowing I can trust his heart, I wanted be open to how the Lord might be working through him to speak to me.
Regardless, I can I honestly say I’d rather someone else admit to me all of their wrongs, while keeping mine a special little secret. And more than likely, you’re a lot like me when it comes to admitting to others your shortcomings, your struggles and those things that seem to keep you from an abundant life in Christ. It’s easy for us to have misconceptions about ourselves. We’re reminded in James 4:1 there’s war within us, and we have a significant part to play in our behavior. While we have to accept the things we can’t change, we must still take action with the things we can. Admitting to our wrongs, whether that’s a behavior or our words, it’s something we can do. Blaming others takes no courage at all. Admitting our wrongs is courageous.
If one admits their specific wrongs, I have found they will probably have to face at least four aspects in that experience. The first is fear. Fear in the fact this admission might cause others to leave you because of what has happened. The second involves anxiety and stress, or some form of that. This happens over the reality of the loss of “what was” and the pressure to deal with what is left. The third aspect could be depression. As a result of being left and losing things, one may face depression at the loneliness of their current circumstances. And yet, there’s also a fourth aspect: love. Yes, when we admit our wrongs we will encounter loss and loneliness, and others may leave or have to leave, but we can also experience love — the love of the Father, and the love of our true friends — a love that takes us toward restoration.
In looking at the context of Isaiah 30, you would see in the first 17 verses the people of God are being warned not to make an alliance with another group of people. And verses 18 through 33 reveal the longing of God is to be gracious to his people, while remaining holy and just. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says: “God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” The spiritual reality is when we abide in the love of God, and not fear or stress, and when we have taken a real look at ourselves, we can more freely admit to what we have done to ourselves, to the Lord, and, perhaps, to others.
And when you do, when we’re courageous to admit our wrongs, what we actually lose is that sense of isolation, we lose that desire to do wrong, we can also lose our unwillingness to forgive, and we can address our false pride and those misconceptions we have created for ourselves and bought into throughout time.
May we be a people of God, a mighty movement of the Lord that’s so consumed with him and his promises for our lives we live honestly and authentically in all we do. And may his church be known for not what they can do themselves, but for what the Lord has done in and through us!
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.