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The truth will set you free

This is a hard blog to write, but I felt God saying that some of you could benefit from our experience, so I’m going to risk it.  Life can be hard to navigate and sometimes you just need to know that someone else has struggled like you’re struggling.   Most of our marriage has b…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
This is a hard blog to write, but I felt God saying that some of you could benefit from our experience, so I’m going to risk it.  Life can be hard to navigate and sometimes you just need to know that someone else has struggled like you’re struggling.
 
Most of our marriage has been wonderful – idyllic even.  But one year when Karen and I were going through a hard time in our marriage, the tectonic plates in my world shook so hard I wondered if I was going to make it. I was utterly discombobulated and undone. Where could we find solid ground? Our nerve endings were exposed and throbbing. We wanted to run, but had no idea where to run to. Wherever you go, there you are, “God show me how I get to solid ground.” I cried out. 
 
In that dark and uncertain place in my life came this thought, “the truth will set you free.” Our reality had been rocked, so our understanding of truth no longer held. To get back to a safe place, we had to go through a hard season of truth-telling. We were in no-man’s land and the only way out was through a deep probing of some of the painful parts of our life.
 
It was a terrible grace that God was inviting us to receive. One’s tendency is to recoil from painful places, to hide from betrayal, to compartmentalize it and pretend it doesn’t exist. We want to O.J. Simpson the horrible thing in our past, walling off its radioactivity so that it’s like it never happened. With Bill Clinton we try to create another reality, “I did not have sex with that woman!” We assert as though the assertion makes it so.
 
Yet the radioactivity of the thing eventually has to leak through. In spiritual terms, the enemy of our souls has one weapon above all others. He’s called “the father of lies” for a reason. And we will never have the peace that God brings until there is a probing of the dark places in our lives where we’ve tolerated a lie.
 
When at last, though tears, Karen and I committed to the truth, the most incredible thing happened; we looked into the abyss and grace stared back at us. Certain lies had acquired a remarkable power. They were like invisible chains restricting our movement. And when we committed to the truth, no matter the cost, the power of those lies was gone. The truth had indeed set us free!
 
The pain didn’t go away after the forgiveness was given, but over time it subsided. And learning how to trust again wasn’t easy. But it ultimately made us stronger and our joy together richer.
 
So many people I know have made the decision to hide a shameful secret in their past. I think it’s just part of the human condition. We’re born vulnerable and ignorant and we’re pounded by an enemy who attacks us where we’re weak. But with all that, we’re not the only one that ever betrayed another or suffered abuse. It’s a job hazard we all face.
 

God made us for freedom. Jesus was a liberator who came to set the captives free. Haven’t you suffered enough? Jesus, the way, the life, and the truth, will set you free if you trust him. A good place to start is 1 John 1:9, and if you need a safe place to unburden yourself, email me and I’ll help you get to one.

Comments (13)

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    How true… when in Germany in 1974-77 we had Fellowship in the Light meetings. At these meetings everyone would openly confess their sins – whether was thoughts, or actions. We had learned this from Mother Basilea Schlink of Canaan Land in Darmstadt, Germany. There was much spiritual growth during this time; however, I returned to the USA to find the church steeped in deception and lies. It has been hard to find those who would walk in the light and have fellowship in Christ. Truth does triumph evil when we trust the Lord. The real basis for our lack of trust isn’t really in the other person – it is in our lack of faith and trust in God to see us through. I believe the first one to reveal ourselves to is Father God and Jesus. We are then able to be truthful with all, because we have trusted our soul to him who is faithful.

  • this is exactly why God hadn’t put me to bed yet – i needed this. in the reconciliation with my old co-worker the only way to get through it is in truth. man, i think this will hurt a bit. thanks for His truth though!

  • Love this Blog!! Life is just so much easier if we live in the truth. Nothing is better and it brings so much healing and freedom.

  • I like the part about Satan being the “father of lies.” So if we are harboring any lies, we’re letting Satan be the father of a part of our life…which is bad. Just a really neat word picture for me.

  • Seth, please what do you mean when you said, “It was a terrible grace that God was inviting us to receive.” What is a terrible grace… how does it work… where does it thrive? This blogs is saying so much, I’m having to read again a forth time and take notes. THANK YOU!

  • Seth, This is an Awesome Post!!! This is so true. I have been able to share my past with most of my church family and with them and most everyone else I feel so free. Please pray for me. I have not yet been able to be real with my biological family and still feel very bound by them which is making my holiday season VERY difficult right now and usually makes every day difficult for me. I want to be real with them but don’t know how. I want to be truly set free. Christ is my savior and I believe this with all my heart so I want to trust Him to help me do this.

  • You’re so wonderful, Dad. What an honor it is to be the son of a man who daily gives up his life to the cause, no matter how painful or difficult. I wish I was as unwavering.

  • Thank you guys for your affirmation. These kinds of things are tough for us (all of us) to share, yet in sharing them, we inevitably give people the courage they need to reveal their own junk and get set free in the process.

    In my case, I knew of one man who is struggling to share something with a loved one. I felt God saying, “write the blog for him.” I did so, but it took us a couple of weeks before Karen and I screwed up the courage to post the blog. This stuff isn’t easy!

    We all have been hurt and we all have reasons not to pick that scab again. To be human is to be hurt and to reflexively want to protect oneself from further hurt. Come to think of it, animals do that too…

    To address Uche’s question about “terrible grace,” here’s what I meant by that: The grace can only be accessed by embracing the truth. The truth is very often so shameful and so painful, we feel it’s better to keep it buried and closeted off where it doesn’t touch us or anyone else.

    But the fact is, the enemy uses our secrets as a point of access to our souls. He uses our pain to tempt us to re-enact the scene from the Garden of Eden where they hide from God. Only by fully “exposing” ourselves by sharing our secrets and embracing truth do we deprive the enemy of his access points.

    And when he can no longer bring the isolation and the pressure that he has tormented us with, we feel God’s wonderful, terrible grace. If there’s a secret, it’s this: give God what he wants. Press into the pain and he’ll shower you with grace, not condemnation.

  • Interesting that I should find this post today, so many months later – when today’s sermon was on Galatians 5:1 – it is for freedom that Christ has set us free … when I am so ardently bent on rooting out the lie-based thinking (straight from the enemy) that has ruled in close relationships and robbed me of wholehearted devotion – even as I thought I was being so true to Him! Who would imagine that in pursuing help for someone else, I would find out just how broken and messed up I am?! That is a terrible grace indeed … ironic, and just like God! But it is for FREEDOM He has set us free – and He is good enough to not stop until we “get it.” Thank God.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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