I spill these words out at the risk of sounding bossy…and if you know me, I can be a tad bossy at times…I’m still a work in progress.
If you could get inside my heart you would see there are certain things I choose to write about that make it beat a little faster. Vulnerability does that…especially when I I hear that whisper, “Let this one out.”
Bless my mom’s heart, every time I write about my past, she makes sure I’m okay…okay as in knowing I’m forgiven, loved and no longer bound by shame. I love to reassure her that if my past is brought up by me, there is a purpose beyond me and shame no longer has a hold on me.
Before I get into sounding bossy, I’m going to share a story about my past. My story involves someone I have no desire to shame or bring attention to and if I thought you might know him, I would doubt my urging to write about it. I understand public shame in ways I would never wish on anyone and I would fight to help protect others from experiencing it if I had the power to do so. Yes, people shame themselves in public ways because they engage in behaviors that are eventually revealed and it’s part of their consequences…I get that. I also get our responses can either help someone towards true repentance or towards hiding in shame…understanding what that looks like is worth looking into.
The story goes like this;
In February 2012 my affair with a pastor in our church was publicly exposed. I wanted to run away….I wanted to hide…forever. However, I heard God’s voice…(Yes, He still talks to His children when they’ve misbehaved) “Kandace, you need to stay, repent and walk out the consequences of your sin in the midst of those you wounded.” God’s voice broke through my messed up mind and gave me one command. I obeyed not knowing what it looked like for a woman who would be “brought before the crowd” and God wanted it that way. He didn’t want me to know. He just wanted me to “make things right” as much as it would depend on me. Making things right in my situation at that time was a big blurry, confusing puzzle. But with a desire to get back on the path of pleasing Jesus, I trusted His heart through the maze of unknowns with no plan other than staying alive and listening for His direction. Over the course of several years, I was given opportunities to make things right by taking responsibility and seeking the help I needed in order to be restored. The mercy that met me along the way overcame the judgment that sought to define my worth. And it changed me. It opened my eyes to the good, the bad and the horrible in the mess I helped create. A mess God clearly tells us we can avoid.
At the same time I was hearing God, my husband was listening to a man tell him that he needed to teach me a lesson and not let me back in our house. And maybe in some situations this would have been wise counsel, but not in ours. (This man thought he knew what was best and his motives are only for God to judge.) My husband eventually told me this man’s counsel. I asked him why he didn’t take it. He simply said, “Because I knew it wasn’t how God was leading me.” Nathan would go on to be led in many ways that caused questions. Because emotions run high and out of control people tend to give counsel based on feelings at the onset of trauma. Especially people close to us. And it’s the very reason we need to be slow to speak. Unless someone needs to get out of a dire situation, we need be slow to give specific counsel. Thankfully my husband did not listen to this man’s counsel.
We see all too often people giving counsel based on what they want to see happen without considering what God might be speaking to the one who is making decisions. For the most part, people are trying to protect us but sometimes their “protection” will take away the blessing of pain that leads to our transformation and healing. (Think of it as taking someone off the operating table of a needed heart surgery because we don’t want that person to go through the pain of recovery.)
The Apostle Peter didn’t want Jesus to go to His cross. He wanted to protect Him. Peter didn’t get there was a bigger plan in place that would bring about a greater good. Like many of us, Peter didn’t want his friend to go through trial and pain. And though Peter is not known for being slow to speak, he is known for the transformation Jesus brought to his life.
And now the bossy part…be slow to speak…actually God said it first in James 1:19 “….But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…” God wants to help us with this… for our good and the good of others.