But God wanted me to worship him with a pure heart and he wanted to heal my memories. And much of my confession had to do with confessing and receiving forgiveness for the way I treated my brother when we were young. I terrorized him. And I beat the snot out of him when we were left home alone. He constantly tagged along when my friend down the block and I were playing or riding our bikes. I remember sending him on "missions"--which were really just cruel ways of getting him out of my hair. As God gently brought these things and more to my mind, I wept many bitter tears. I have asked my younger brother, now a man who is unknown by me due to the fact that he refuses to speak or write to me, for forgiveness. And thus far, he has held on to his hurt and his bitterness--and has refused to communicate with me.
So all I could do was to pray for him--that God would enable him to release his pain and to accept the healing that the Holy Spirit offers him. But as for me? I am blameless.
God brought to my mind so many sins....and a vast majority of them were committed by me as a child. I realized that I was a complete hypocrite. At church being a model child and at home, in private, being evil to the core. And then came mental illness. It is altogether possible that my sinful past was a cause and a result of my burgeoning schizophrenia--but that does not release me from responsibility before God; even if the judicial system makes allowance for mental illness--I felt that I was burdened by this guilt and longed for a clean , blameless heart.
One by one, God brought memories to mind --all year long-- of things I needed to leave at the cross. From brutalizing my little brother, to hypocrisy and to "little" lies as an adult. And little by little, layer by layer, God peeled back sin and revealed a heart underneath: A wounded heart, because sin wounds the perpetrator as well as the victim. And he gently restored this sin crippled soul. And I am now trying to keep much shorter accounts with God and am dealing with sin within the week rather than within years. I do not know if I am "finished" with the process of repentance; there may be more memories waiting to be healed as well.
And once in a while I have struggled with the enemy of my soul, when he whispers to me, "That sin is too big, too shameful, too awful for God to forgive you. You have committed the unpardonable sin." And once when I lifted this question to the Father he brought to my mind a name. "David Berkowitz" aka, "Son of Sam"---a mentally ill, spiritually bound individual guilty of a series of horrific murders years ago. He received multiple life sentences to a facility for mentally ill criminals. But some time ago a marvelous thing happened. GOD happened to this man. He shined the light of his holiness upon that sinful, wounded heart....and God forgave him and restored his mind. I've heard interviews on the radio with the Son of Sam (who is now a son of God) and he is a changed man. And God told me, "If my grace and mercy are great enough to restore that man to myself, then your sin is not a problem."
Ah breathing in the fresh spring air of God's mercy and grace---after being stifled by sin for so long--is a wonderful thing. And I want to tell you that NO MATTER how evil your heart is or was, God holds forgiveness and restoration for you as well. Ask him. Ask him to peel back layers of sin from your heart...to cleanse you inside and out. And may you too have a blameless heart.
So my question now is, "What is the word, God, for 2016? What journeys do you have in store for me this coming year?" I am not going to pick my own word. God knows where he will lead me and he will make it clear to me what word will be my precious gift this coming year.