Find Your Freedom This EasterApr 15, 2022
When the weather brings a stretch of cloudy days, I sometimes catch myself wondering, “Will the sun ever shine again?”
Even though intellectually I know the weather report says the sun will appear soon, I’m personally sitting in the midst of overcast skies, so I struggle to feel that hope—and warmth—emotionally.
I think that’s what we all experience when we are going through troubling times. Even though we know, intellectually, that the bad times can’t last forever, we wonder if just maybe they will.
This is where hope enters the equation.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: With hope we can survive anything and move forward. Without it, we wither and begin to focus on the negative.
Focusing on the negative is all too easy to do when we are going through tough times. It’s easy to make a “gratitude list” when the day is sunny and we are driving with the top rolled down, so to speak. But it isn’t so easy to feel grateful when we are stranded on the side of life’s road in a rainstorm with a punctured tire and a broken windshield.
Maybe you’re struggling with a situation in your life right now that has you feeling anxious or angry or without hope. And maybe you’re even beginning to get a little down on yourself—the bullies of the human mind love to kick us when we are down, and the spiritual demons love to pick us apart when we are feeling vulnerable.
Some people say that the devil’s greatest trick is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist, but I say it’s different. I say that his greatest trick is convincing people that they are worthless, un-loveable, unredeemable, hopeless.
And that is where Good Friday and Easter come into play. No matter how low you are—no matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past (or recently), no matter how difficult your station in life is—you can feel good about where you stand with God and the future, including the future that never ends, eternity.
Because Jesus took the filth of the world upon himself—the mistakes, perversion, illness, selfishness, pain, greed, anger and everything else—we no longer have to beat ourselves up and feel worthless or hopeless.
Self-loathing is now a fool’s game, and hopelessness and cynicism no longer have a place in the mental and emotional lexicon.
Gloom and doom, be gone.
Maybe you’ve heard Christians say about Good Friday and Easter: “This Changes Everything.
Well, I truly believe it does. Despite the reality of physical death, it’s now okay to feel good about where this whole thing called life is headed. And despite our personal faults and screwups, it’s now okay to feel good about ourselves and where we stand with God.
You are enough, simply because He created you and redeemed you. And so am I.
For my money, Good Friday is the most meaningful of holidays. As someone who’s struggled with excessive feelings of guilt from time to time (maybe because of some anxious genes extending through my lineage, or maybe because of condemning thought patterns I absorbed from stern Lutheran teachers and pastors as a youth), I’ve always found great release and rebirth on Good Friday. I’ve always found great freedom on that most epic and meaningful of days.
Because of Christ’s death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection, there is eternal life and hope beyond the insanity and suffering of this world.
Because of Good Friday and Easter, the shackles of guilt, illness, and death are finally broken, and we can feel emancipated.
In a world that has too much "heavy," we can feel light.
Because of Good Friday and Easter, the devil’s argument that we are worthless and doomed loses all of its steam.
In the course of my wellness coaching, I’ve worked with many people from varying nationalities and all walks of life—people who are dealing with medication-related illnesses, depression, anxiety, personal demons, and fear—and I can tell you with certainty that a part of healing always involves thinking better about ourselves; it involves overcoming any feelings of worthlessness that sickness and guilt can heap upon us.
From a humanistic standpoint, this mental and emotional healing involves many things related to self-image and feelings of personal worth; things such as encouraging positive self-talk, learning to absorb contentment through gratitude and goal setting, learning to replace negative personal stories with positive ones, and so forth.
But in a spiritual sense, this inner healing involves accepting the feelings of love and worth that God openly offers us rather than resisting them (Why do we make it so hard on ourselves?). This spiritual healing involves learning to love ourselves more because God loves us—no preamble or exclusions.
I think emotional wellness can be found where the human and Divine intersect, where our efforts and God’s grace meet. A part of forgiveness is asking for it, but the other half of the equation is accepting its Divine reality through faith. A part of feeling valuable and special is personal accomplishment and self work, but the other part comes from a spiritual life that accepts redemption and Divine love.
We must do our part to improve our situations and then realize that even our best efforts have limitations that can only be transcended by God.
We must do our part and then hand the big picture over to Him, every day. That is the recipe for success. "Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed," says Proverbs 16:3.
All healing involves spiritual and inner healing, and all inner healing involves finding remedy for feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and fear. It involves accepting absolute absolution for our past screw ups—no matter how vile or large—simply because God says we can be forgiven. Healing involves working to increase faith so that we can become less preoccupied with materialism, instant gratification, perfectionism, sickness, calamity, and death.
On Good Friday, because Jesus said to the thief dying beside Him on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” we can know that paradise is ours no matter how short we’ve fallen at times.
On Good Friday, because Jesus said, “It is finished,” we know that the devil (who lives in the ether, but who also live on our shoulders and in our heads when we are feeling vulnerable), has no power. His darkness and death are defeated.
This Good Friday I urge you to feel the power of Christ’s crucifixion and all that it means for you personally. Read the accounts of the crucifixion from the Gospels, and feel the epic torture of nails piercing flesh and an innocent savior hanging on a cross to mockery.
Picture the sky turning dark, earthquakes shaking the ground, and the temple curtain ripping in two as Christ’s earthly breath fades and He descends to the depths to conquer evil for us.
Picture demons trembling as they realize that light has defeated the darkness that was their refuge.
Picture the sunrise and the "Son Rise" of Easter morning. Picture life being renewed and victorious.
Picture a personal cleansing taking place for you as the hurts and fears of the past give way to the hopes of the future.
Get emotionally affected this Good Friday and Easter. You know intellectually that you ought to feel this weekend is special, but now is the time to feel it emotionally! Feel the power of what it means for you personally!
If there’s some past mistakes you haven’t been able to forgive yourself for, now you can.
If there’s some inner struggle involving feelings of low self-worth or damnation, remember that God sent His son to die for you and redeem you because you are actually worth a lot.
That sort of Divine planning and sacrifice isn’t done because you are worthless, but rather because you are so very valuable.
If there are some fears about death or future uncertainties that are weighing down your spirit, then let those go, too. And if there are some wonders and worries about how you might survive a current challenge, then think about the celestial power displayed by Easter Sunday’s resurrection.
If death and the devil are not obstacles for God, then He can handle your troubles and worries as well, be assured. Hand them over this weekend. Find your freedom!
Have a very blessed holiday weekend.
Until next time,
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