Psalm 32: 3-4 While I kept silence, my body wasted away, my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you; I did not hide my iniquity.
Someone I love is in rehab, his second try. He’s starting over after pretending for years to be sober when he wasn’t. I can’t begin to describe the mess he’s made, the grief he’s caused, the emptiness in his voice when he finally emerged from deep cover and confessed his lie.
Unlike last time, he’s ‘working the program’ honestly now. It’s hard and painful, but not as painful as when he was going it alone, when it was just the bottle talking, telling him, ‘You’re fine.’
Now he’s in better company—a fellowship of the nearly-dead who really want to live. They tell their own stories and listen to each others’ truth. They know they’re not fine, and they tell it like it is. They need each other to make it.
I called him the other day. He sounded different. He sounded overjoyed. In such a fellowship, he told me, you can strip naked and not die of exposure. Even the worst thing is redeemable.
When I heard his voice I wondered, if the payoff is joy like that, why wouldn’t we all want uncompromising light to shine on our deceitful hearts?
Maybe we don’t think we need it. We’re not that far gone. And maybe that’s lie number one. But maybe we’d be willing to come out of hiding if we had some company, a fellowship in which there are no reprisals for truth-telling. No shock, no shaming. Only healing, only the gift of life. For who can bear to see themselves truly except in the mirror of grace?
Maybe we could all emerge from deep cover in the fellowship of church, if only church were such a fellowship. If only…