Demolishing Prison Walls

by Rob Gibson   May  26, 2016

Post #6 in: Gleanings from … and everyday life. The rest of the story from post #5. 

It takes intentionality and courage to deconstruct the prison walls of our false selves. If we don’t expose and dismantle them, they become lonely prisons in which we die.

Demolition is something I do pretty well when it comes to projects at home. I get a strange satisfaction out of beating the crap out of stuff with a sledge hammer. Maybe it’s the hope of a reconstructing something better. Relationally, sledge hammers don’t work as they wound already tender hearts, but deconstructing unhealthy relational walls is still important work.

Last week I shared how my false self, the “right one” (finds value in “getting it right”), built a wall between me and two friends I love. In the moment, I was unaware my false-self was operative, but after our meeting I sensed a divide, a prison of sorts that felt isolated and cold.

I asked God, why I felt disconnected and a dis-ease with that meeting. His word back was; “you’re fighting to be right, you’re fighting for value and worth … stop fighting for what I’ve already given you!” It was a beautiful moment of God given self-awareness that exposed a wall a false-self regularly tries to build. It was redeeming because God gave me the sense I was loved and secure in him, even when I’m wrong and living falsely. It was very freeing as that awareness of the false-self opened a cell door, exposed the wall, and invited me to step into the  light of his truth and love.

Awareness necessarily leads to a choice to do something or nothing at all. Inaction is a choice to let the wall stand and stay in an increasingly lonely prison. Action for me is sharing the false-self exposed by the relational wall. Sharing my brokenness, the falseness, the twisted internal messages and fight for value with these friends. The exposure and disclosure feels risky and the false-self resists it. But the notion that exposure is risky is a lie of the false-self, because God says:

“… when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”” 

(Ephesians 5:13-14)

This is an amazing truth; exposure to his light transforms my darkness to light! It crushes the power of the lies. So God invites me to wake up, take action, arise from death and let Christ shine. Do I dare trust him in this?

God also says:

“…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  (1John 1:7)

Do I really want loving connections (fellowship) with these men and other human beings? If so, I have to risk walking in the light. My false-self screams resistance: “They will judge you, reject you, and shovel condemnation on you.” They could, some have, others will and the hurt is real. Still, God will not – there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Nothing can separate us from his love. Christ has fully accepted and secured me – now and for eternity. Will I trust that and walk in the light of his love? Will you?

I decided to step into the light. I phoned one man and told him I didn’t feel good about our conversation and shared the internal battle for value I was having. I assured him he’d done nothing and I was aware this was my junk. He responded warmly; “Thank you for that. I wondered what I’d done because I felt that wall too!” It was telling, because I thought the wall was well concealed. In reality we all feel the relational walls – a wall is not easily hidden. He continued: “I appreciate your honesty and I feel closer to you now.” Amazing, deeper fellowship because I walked in the light, exposing my broken humanity and falseness. It works – God wasn’t kidding!

The light demolished the darkness and, in that moment, took power from the lies fueling the false-self. I say, “in that moment,” because false-selves are pervasive and persistent in attempting to steal the love and joy of being relationally connected. But light conquers darkness.

So if it worked with one man, do I dare call the other? I risked the action and it worked again. Now I’m writing about it in hope that the story will encourage you to walk in the light; and writing it encourages me to stay in the light and experience more freedom as prison walls are demolished.

I don’t know your internal struggle or your false-self, but I’m convinced we all have them. It may be fighting for value, security, love, acceptance or affirmation. It may stem from deep pain, depression, abuse, sexual sin, fear, abandonment, shame, or other relational wounds that make you want to hide your heart. Every situation and every heart is different, and it takes courage to begin the journey out of the prison of darkness. Regardless of the differing darkness of our particular prison, the light of Christ’s love is always the cure. Christ’s love is the way out.

The light is freeing and his love is wonderfully safe. God loves you, come walk in the light.

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