Break Free (part 1): Look At The Ugly

This is a small series of blogs to walk us through a normal road to true life-change. It’s not pretty, sanitized, and religious people who like it clean will find it rather dirty. But it’s the way God changed (and still changes) my life, and he may do the same for you!

We can only break free from what’s killing us, after we’ve seen how ugly it truly is. Jesus led a woman at a well to rehearse the pain of her past. Memories flashed through her mind of the five husbands she’d had and even the man she was now shacked up with. All the pain of being used, abused and reinvesting her soul into that which could never deliver, must have pained her deeply. The prospect that now again her heart was about to be broken over her shame, would have been brutal to bare. But instead of running away from more condemnation, she heard the voice of truth dripping with compassion. This precious woman was about to break free from what was killing her, but it required a deep look into just how ugly her sin (and the sin others visited on her) really was, and how damaged her soul had become.

That long deep look into our sin is not a sadistic game that God plays, it’s a small price that positions us for the priceless freedom we can only find in Christ. No one can see their need for someone to save them, unless they’re certain they’re sinking. God will only show us the depths of our depravity, in order to reveal the inestimable heights of his mercy and love. 

God lifted the fog from my life over several months in the early eighties. But the more I could see, the less I could envision any kind of solution or future with genuine hope. It was at the bottom of empty that I came to grips with my life–I had to “look at the ugly”. The escape of Cocaine had no more pop. Now I was only more paranoid with every line that I snorted. The desired effects of alcohol was no longer for social release, it was for emotional relief. I drank to dull the pain and passing out was fine by me. No one saw any of this like I felt this, and that's why it is so important to have freedom as we’ve truly dreamed, not as we hope others perceive.

So I humbly ask you to “look at the ugly”. Grasp how empty that food addiction has become. Get ahold of how far that ladder-climbing in business and material pursuit has pulled you from the family you love. Take an honest assessment of how numb and self-absorbed that fantasy and/or pornography has left you. Get sobered up for a moment over how much that substance you pour into yourself has become a crutch that you can’t imagine not leaning on. Stop blaming others long enough to see that the very things you desire to receive you rarely give away. Look at the ugly. But look only long enough to realize that there is a voice calling into the dark night of your soul. And when you turn to see it, you’ll be utterly amazed.  

John 4