A crumpled mess of her … Jerusalem. Lamentations opens with despair and heartache. Peeling back curtains of time to look through its window–dismal and broken. She sits like a widow and slave, tears down her face, uncomforted, betrayed. She lies in the gutter with no one to lift her out.
He wove my sins into ropes
to hitch me to a yoke of captivity.
The Lord sapped my strength and turned me over to my enemies;
I am helpless in their hands. Lamentations 1:14 NLT
God hates sin.
Your prophets have said
so many foolish things, false to the core.
They did not save you from exile
by pointing out your sins.
Instead, they painted false pictures,
filling you with false hope. Lamentations 2:14 NLT
When it gets personal, I think of times I painted lovely excuses around my sin, false hope of my justification. So self-deceived, I mourned and wailed without a clue as to the why of punishment.
A favorite verse whispered to me among the vines, in Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
I read more …
4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:1-6
Hebrews 12 is full of great encouragement and caution: be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking.
Lord, I chased after the approval of man. Cheap idols I once admired, you crashed and shattered. After enough tears and searching, you showed me my heart and I finally understood, seeing past the colorful cover-up of my own deception. Today I can live free from that sin–because I see it for what it was, those ropes that bound me. I don’t want to live deceived. Lord, may I always listen for your voice.
From the archives. Originally published November 8, 2012.