My wife and I have been preparing to put our house for sale on the market. In preparation, we have been doing some work on the old casa. A couple of weeks ago, we had to pack up some cabinets in order to move them to a different location in the house so we could have some new carpet laid.
After the carpet got installed, we moved everything back and have been unpacking the boxes and replacing stuff where it goes in the cabinets. Misty ran across a few containers of cassette tapes and, being the curious little blessing that she is, just had to know what was on them.
So, one night last week, I walked into the house and I heard her upstairs fiddling with the tapes. She had decided to not only listen to them but transfer the valuable ones from cassette tape over to digital files.
As I ascended the staircase, I heard a preacher preaching……………loudly! I had to listen intently to get passed the high pitch squeal and his maddening case of of the “uh-huhs” just so I could realize what he was saying.
I have to admit, the brother was “shucking the corn”, “gettin’ his preach on” and “tellin’ it like it was.” (sigh) It was evident to me, in the short while I listened (trust me!……..a few short moments seemed like an eternity!) the brother was preaching for response from the crowd and acted like he knew what he was talking about.
The arrogant tone was clearly of a man who knew he was God’s called and chosen sent to those people to drop the latest life-changing revelation on those who were fortunate enough to hear him. It was all I could do to stay there and listen long enough to determine where he was going with his content.
Honestly, I felt bad for the brother on that tape. I actually became a bit physically nauseous. I knew the brother had identity issues. He was extremely religious in his nature – religious as in “trying real hard” to be something and do something for Jesus!
“Whoa……whoa……..whoa, Bryon!” you are saying. “Don’t be so critical and so judgmental!”
Okay! I will lighten up a bit. But the brother needed serious help then AND I know he more than likely still needs help today.
The preaching machine on the tape was me; vintage mid-to- late 90s. (sigh)
The further I have gotten away from that particular genre of ministry, I think I had forgotten how steeped in it I was. The flashback was both humbling and horryifying. Humbling to think about the transitions that have occurred in my life since then and horrifying to think there may be other tapes like that “out there”.
I honestly think I may have been set up in the whole deal. This wouldn’t be the first time, nor will it be the last, that Father has used my lovely wife and life circumstances to gain my attention. With what Father has been speaking to me lately and doing in my life, perhaps he wanted me to have a flashback.
Granted, the above description was a bit tongue in cheek in order to make my point. Though I did get sick to my stomach a bit, I am not condemned or humiliated by the fact that I was “that way”. I was a young man just trying to find my way and doing what I knew to do with great zeal. No, it doesn’t make it right…….I’m just saying, it was what it was.
Rather than feeling condemned, having that experience has made me grateful for Father’s great Love, Grace and Mercy He has shown to me over these years. As I consider where I “was then” and where I “am now”, I see the power of repentance as a lifestyle and the ability of a Loving Father who can truly bring transformation to my life. Actually, I guess it is more about considering “who I was then” and “who I am now”. Hopefully, in another 15 years or so I will be able to look back and see, at least, the same amount of change in me.
You know what else that experience has done for me. It has given me a bit more grace, tolerance and patience for brothers who may be locked into similar periods of their process or believers who are struggling with issues in their own experience. Maybe, just maybe, Father would like for me to express to them some of the Love, Grace and Mercy He so lavishly bestowed upon me. (Ding! Ding! We have a winner!)
I would like to thank my passionately curious little Mrs. for making such a significant incident occur. Truly, there isn’t another woman alive on the planet who could’ve walked this far with me, still allow me to hang around and, all the while, make me believe she loves me. Now, can we please throw those tapes away!?!?!
Keep your peace!