The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony. Rev.12:10-11.
Just a few years ago, someone spoke this over me: I used to think that you were brave, but now I think that you are ruled by fear. This was poison uttered deep to my battered soul that was already sinking, sinking under the weight of condemnation. Those words echoed through my years of healing, my bravest years.
Many years ago, in college, I called to share a struggle with an adult I wanted to trust. After listening to my college-girl dilemmas for awhile, she said in annoyance, You just eat your emotions for breakfast, lunch and dinner, don’t you? That gagged my mouth from vulnerability for many years, years I should have spent draining regrets.
Last year, a conflict with friends exploded through gossip into a nuclear wasteland, leaving smoking debris and embedded shrapnel in open wounds everywhere. It was a holocaust of rumor, accusation, suspicion and loss. We sort through the wreckage, dazed, wondering what in the world just happened? Can it be undone? Is forgiveness strong enough to overcome so much misunderstanding?
My husband carries the weight every day of personal and professional attack in his business. We will not stop until (name) and (name) and their families have lost everything. Scott and other leaders stand tirelessly in the gap. He walks in integrity, leads in strength, fights with all of his might to build something great. But the opposition is relentless, grinding.
Accusation. The Bible says that Satan accuses us before God day and night. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8. Why are we so eager to pick at Satan’s leftovers? Why does God’s beloved church reject His invitation to restore? How can the people of grace be so void of grace?
If you bite and devour each other, take care lest you be consumed by each other. Gal.5:15.
Are you bowed under the weight of accusation? Have you turned your face from the Light because of your shame? Are you coated with the grime of condemnation?
“The hurling of veiled insults and unsubstantiated charges is a favorite tactic of Satan’s. If he can stir up clouds of guilt in our minds and unsettle us with nebulous worries, then the Devil is in his element. Whenever we find ourselves plagued by an obscure, uneasy sense of condemnation – a free-floating anxiety unattached to any clear course of remedial action – then the chances are that this is the work of the Devil. It is the voice of accusation, not conviction.” Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job
That is an anthem of freedom. When that vague haze of torment settles over me, I seize the truth in that paragraph.
“The conviction of the Holy Spirit is always precise: He identifies root causes of sin, and He moves the heart to specific acts of repentance and obedience. All who trust God sufficiently to desire to obey Him will find unfailingly that He gives clear guidance.” ibid.
Therefore now there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1.
I grieve at God-opportunities lost when I ingested the accusations alongside the conviction. I wish I had chosen to spit out the condemnation while drinking the conviction to the dregs. Accusation poisons; conviction nourishes. This people-pleaser swallowed the shame, walked through many years with its weight in my belly. Now I perceive the dividing line between the two and I weep at the goodness of a God who convicts but does not condemn.
O taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is she who takes refuge in him! Ps.34:8.
Read here how my Savior shed the final weights.
In John 8, the Pharisees capture a woman entangled in an adulterous affair. They drag her, stained with her sin, vulnerable, into the town square to hurl stones at her so she will die, crushed and bloodied. No man stands with her; she is alone in her shame. I imagine her huddled and weeping, trembling with shame and fear. Jesus steps into this den of condemnation with quiet but undeniable authority, uttering his famous Pharisee-squasher, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.” To their credit, the Pharisees slowly file away, convicted, in spite of their self-righteousness, by the Presence of Grace in action. (Do not forget that Grace woos the legalists and the hypocrites alongside the tender-hearted.) In my minds eye, I imagine the Lord of Hosts wrapped in the skin of a man, His heart tumbling over itself to Love this broken sinner in a way she can finally understand. I picture Him kneeling, perhaps shielding her with a cloak, perhaps lifting her chin to be the first man to look in her eyes with compassion instead of desire. The first man to nourish her instead of devour her. The first to see her. He speaks:
Woman, where are your accusers? Does no one condemn you?
No one, Lord.
Then neither do I condemn you. Go now, and leave your life of sin. John 8:10-11.
That, friends, is conviction instead of condemnation. That is Love poured out into the dust of this fallen world. That is a reckoning of grace.
It does not matter if the accusations from the past are true or false. We are a fallen race, and our souls are sick with sin. We are contaminated with this world’s brokenness, and we have failed as big as the ocean. The enemy may speak lies (or even twisted truths) over us, but we will fix our eyes on Jesus, whose bloody Love is sufficient to annihilate every shred of condemnation. Beloved, pursue holiness in confidence, because in the eyes of Jesus, we are whole, undevoured.