Intro: Former staff member, Karen Wood, has left a lasting legacy with WGA through her writing. While on staff, Karen wrote a series of papers on honesty. She organized these essays into five booklets, each discussing a different way we must be honest in order to grow spiritually and relationally. The series is called, “Going Deeper With God.” Periodically, these booklets are studied by a small group of people who seek a deeper relationship with God. Karen has a creative way of expressing her thoughts. As you read, please pray for the men and women in our ministry, and for Karen (now known as Mother Nina) in life in a monastic order.
From Booklet Three—Emotional Honesty:
When I face the reality of the condition of my life, I can respond in one of three ways. If I discover I have cancer, I can deny it. I can simply pretend I am well until I die. If I have cancer, I won’t be healed by leaving that fact out and simply embracing health as a concept.
A second option is to acknowledge my cancer, but to give in to it. In this case, I will die of cancer because I surrender to the illness and don’t fight it. I won’t be healed if I accept the fact that I have cancer and don’t do anything about it. I will, instead, identify with the cancer and let it take over who I am.
Thirdly, though, I can acknowledge my illness and apply the concepts of health to that illness. I can respond to my awareness of my illness with healthy ways of living and medicine that can overcome the disease. I can bring who I am as a sick person in contact with that which can produce health. The two must come together, my sickness and what God has provided for health, for the transfer of health to be made. Similarly, miracle of miracles, when I bring my sickness of soul to God and lay it on the altar of his provision, he takes on my sickness and infuses me with his health.
Option three leads to life. I acknowledge the presence of death in me, and bring it to God. I acknowledge God, but don’t disregard my condition in the process. I acknowledge the truth of who God is in all his unreachable, unfathomable, even terrifying perfection, and also the truth of his utter self-giving love that has paved the way for my return to health and to relationship with him. I also acknowledge who I am, both as a creation of God, made “very good” and destined by God for life, and as a creation broken and destined for death by my buy-in to the enemy’s false system. I begin to dare to be honest, to peek out of my illusory world, to face reality.
Honesty is a requirement for reality. Why is simple. If we are not being honest, we are not living in reality. It seems like it should be simple to be honest. But it’s not. When we have been caught in the lie and have become defined by it, to embrace the truth means dying to what we thought was real. It is a crucifixion. Every step of honesty, in looking at the lie that we have considered our being, feels like another nail hanging us on our cross. And it is. We must die to the lie, and be born again to the truth. The Bible repeatedly speaks of endurance, saying he who endures to the end will be saved. Endures to the end of what? We need to endure to the end of the lie’s hold on us that has been killing us. Jesus came to set us free from the lie by the truth. He is the Truth.
This involves a process of holding still and of waiting while Christ infuses us with Reality. It also involves a draining out of us of our sense of who we thought we were. It is like the exchange of fluids in a plant, as the life from the vine flows to the branches, and the fluids from the branches flow to the vine. To us, it feels like who we are is being drained out of us, and what we don’t know anything about is entering us. It is scary; hence, the need for courage to be honest. We wait for the transfer to be complete. And we wrestle with God as we are also honest about how we are affected by all this, and about the beliefs and feelings which are being challenged and stirred up in us.
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