Number Eight of the Big Ten

God made a set of laws for us to follow. Ten straight forward, easily understood rules. All we have to do is obey ten simple commandments and we’re in God’s good books. Easy peasy, I mean how hard can it be to obey 10 rules? Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve failed at each and every one of them uncountable times throughout my life.

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior and he paid the most expensive fine ever levied for my breaking these rules. The only acceptable payment would be the blood sacrifice of a perfect lamb. Jesus was the only perfect man to ever have walked on this planet, and he dirtied himself with my sins. He took all the blame for what I committed and paid my fines in full with his life, setting me free.

 Do you know how I repaid Jesus for this blessing of all blessings, for his suffering and his death? I went right ahead and broke every one of the ten commandments again, and again, and again. Have you done the exact same thing as I have? Thank goodness for us, that Jesus paid for “ALL” of our sins. That’s every broken rule from our past, every sin we committed today and every commandment dishonored in the future. “ALL” sins.

Today, I want to address commandment number eight. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Plain and simple, I am not to lie. Do I ever lie?  No, not ever! That was a lie about not lying. God is truth and we are to honor Him by not lying.

I have another skeleton in my closet and it was born from a lie. A lie that needs to be brought out into the open so that I can be more at ease with myself. A lie that I am tired of carrying around. A lie that threatens to be discovered. A lie that will surely tear down my integrity.

This particular lie started off as a way to avoid recurring suffering and pain when individuals innocently stirred up the single most painful unforgiven catastrophe of my life. The one I tried to ignore, bury and hide. My divorce. I did the complete opposite of what the apostle Paul advised in Ephesians 4:31 NIV

All it took was a few inquisitive words to set me off, like; Are you married? Where’s your wife? Did your wife come with you? Is she here? Why didn’t you bring your wife? I’d really like to meet your wife someday! To which I would reply, “I am divorced, I don’t have a wife”. Now that should’ve been the end of it, but no. Then the inevitable questions would come, the looks of disappointment, the prying, and sometimes I swear people just like to dwell on the misery of others so they can feel better about their own messed up lives.

These questions would expose the hatred I had stored up inside which provided fuel for the questioner to pour back onto the fire they just fanned into full flame. Oh dear! I’m so sorry! Oh my, what happened? Whose fault was it? How long has it been? You must be so lonely! Do you have children? How are they taking it? Is there anything I can do? What advice do you have about divorce? So now that you’re available, I have this friend…. Will you marry again?

These thoughtless replies and digs would bring back to memory all the greed, deceit, accusations, cheating lawyers, unfair statements, concocted self-purposing lies and financial loss. They would cost me weeks of sleepless nights, again, as I battled with my fury. One day after about four years of this malarkey I came up with the reply, “I’m a widower, my wife was killed in a car accident.” The inquisitive person is usually too shocked and too embarrassed to ask any further questions. An apology is usually offered, a little sympathy poured out and then they shuffled off on their way. This was brilliant. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Thus a lie was born.

Over time, questions concerning the death of my wife surfaced here and there and I unthinkingly provided quick answers to satisfy whoever was asking and to protect my claim. The lie was expanding and becoming more and more detailed, morphing into a hybrid. I repeated the hybrid lie so many times that it became a reality in my mind. Psalm 119:29 NLT I could still hate her, despise her, slander her in my heart and deny that she ever hurt me as deeply as she did. She was where she belonged, murdered, dead to me, out of my life. The hybrid lie also replaced disappointment and shame with the sympathy I desired. No one ever upset me again and I was at peace. Or, so I thought.  

This hybrid lie has retarded my life and my ability to move forward. Thirty eight years later I still had not forgiven my estranged wife as I never needed to. With the help of the Holy Spirit I realized the weight I was carrying and the need to offload it. All this time I have tried to hurt her by not forgiving her, but she doesn’t even care or know. I have only been hurting myself.  

Exposing myself, to rid my soul of this heavy burden would be a lot easier if I could be guaranteed that no one that I knew, would ever read this blog. All of my very nearest and dearest friends, many of my acquaintances and even my pastor have given me their sympathy which I accepted wrongfully. I have abused their love and care for me. Now I risk losing their friendship and their trust. I am trying to establish myself as a man of integrity and this certainly does not lend itself to my efforts.     

I never intended to hurt anyone but have succeeded in hurting everyone. Now it’s out in the open. I can start to breathe once again. Satin will not be able to derail me by exposing this secrete. I have exposed it myself.

It all started with one tiny little lie. I’m a widower!       

The Skeletons in my Closet

Hidden facts that should they ever be discovered, will undoubtedly damage my reputation. They threaten to destroy my most valued relationships and at the very least when exposed, people’s perceptions of me will be changed. I am ashamed and afraid of being rejected.

Satan hunted me down when I was weak. He found me when I had rejected God. He toyed with my mind, he enticed me, he lured me and he created irresistible situations. He set his traps for me. They were all disguised as fantastic opportunities, sugar coated lies and dreams he promised would come true.

To his delight I ran into trap after trap after trap.  For most of my life I played along and lived his lies. I was buried so deep and it seemed there was no way out. Living in sin was all that I knew. He taught me well.

God was watching and extending His hand. “Trust me, believe in me”. “Choose everlasting life over death”. I knew He was there. My heart told me so.  I could not see HIM but I could see my bank account, my trust funds, my investments, my new home, my new vehicles, my well-paying job, my circle of friends, travel, parties, lovers and I wanted more, more, more.

God created me for Himself and He wanted me back. God passed judgment upon me and He initiated His discipline. Stock market crashes, a horrific, costly, divorce and custody battle, lost employment, a sour property investment, crooked lawyers, false friends and I was crushed. When my head stopped spinning and I saw that the vast majority of all I had worked for all my life had vanished, I turned to the one friend who I thought would save me and he turned his back on me.  

 For the first time in my life I ran out of resources and I had no more answers. I didn’t know what to do. It all seemed hopeless. I threw myself a pity party and after a long hard cry and crying myself to sleep. Something touched me and led me to get down on my knees. I cried out to Jesus, I confessed many, many sins and begged for his forgiveness, for him to take me in, love me, help me and be my guide.

It’s been a little over three years since that day. For a while I still continued to sink but I held on to Jesus’ hand and refused to let go. I prayed to know God and I prayed for the zeal to learn more about Him. I began to read the Bible faithfully every day and research scriptures. I signed up for daily devotionals and began reading Christian based and themed books.  I started to attend church and prayed regularly.

In the last few months my life has finally started to turn around for the better. Blessings abound and I am so appreciative. I have actually received messages from God Himself. I am feeling so very confident and I know that everything is going to be alright. BUT! Guess who has never left?

There is one who is not pleased in the least that I have turned to God and Jesus and man is he ever angry. I cannot begin to count the ferocious attacks that Satin has come at me with. He wants me back and he’s playing dirty. There are many skeletons hanging in my closet. He helped me put them there. Things I’ve done that I am not proud of and lies I’ve concocted to hide shameful things. Stories I’ve told and people I’ve hurt, actions that threaten to destroy friendships and many unbelievable acts that will damage my new Christian character.

Satin was once so accommodating and he made it easy for me to achieve anything that I wanted. He congratulated me on jobs well done and suggested that I deserved more. He set up new temptations everywhere. All mine for the taking. Today these sinful acquisitions are my shame. They are the skeletons in my closet and he threatens to expose them so that he can bring me down.

These skeletons are my own and they are keeping me at a distance from God. Satin reminds me every day and asks me, “What were you thinking”?  He tells me, “You are such an idiot to think you could ever get away with that”!  

My only freedom will be to dig these skeletons out and expose them to the world, myself. I don’t see that I have any other choice. It is the only way that I can disarm Satin and improve my relationship with God.      

Many of us have skeletons hidden away. How will you deal with yours? I could sure use your prayers as I attempt to clean out my closets.