The heart. My heart. It is still a mystery to me, but I’m thankful I’m understanding it more and more. Despite my overly zealous pastoral confessions and the open omission of my guilt, Kimmy insists I never had a hard heart. While I say I trampled over the hearts of many in order to protect my religious ideology and vision, she says I was just a man burdened by an image I felt obligated to carry; burdened by the weight of tradition handed to me. She tells me I’ve always had a soft heart, it’s just that it is much healthier now, and that’s why it feels different. Whole. More alive.
My wife understands more than I do about God. For most of our marriage I considered myself spiritually superior because of my Bible knowledge. I spent my life trusting in God’s book, when I should have learned from her, I should have joined her in trusting in God’s heart. I should have followed his Spirit; instead, I followed my preferred interpretation of the Bible, and demanded everyone else follow that interpretation as well. My hope was in my three point sermons; Kimmy’s hope has always been in the Christ in her heart. I’ve joined her, but it was a difficult transition to make.
So was my heart hard like I remember, or simply overwhelmed with expectations and false traditions as Kimmy believes? While my mind is inclined to believe my version, the Spirit within draws me to believe Kimmy. Not because it’s easier on me. It’s because I trust Kimmy’s understanding of God’s heart and his gracious ways more than I do my own. She is so full of grace, how could I doubt her? God pours out his love through her, and God knows I need his grace.
I understand my guilt. I know my past mistakes. I’ve sought to right the people I wronged. I’ve taken responsibility for my actions, but only because Kimmy helped lift the lie that would have otherwise crushed me. The lie that suggested that the damage I caused while in the institutional church was the DNA of who I am, instead of realising it was a cloak that covered me during that time, but it wasn’t my skin. It wasn’t my inner man. She was the one who helped me realise that cloak has now been removed, and my true DNA is still intact. I’m still made in the image of Love. I’m still a son of the Divine. Kimmy helped me understand the reality of truth. What a valuable lesson worth learning. For so long I used the word ‘truth’ like a weapon, ready to attack anyone who tried to be too gracious or too liberal in their beliefs about God. I thought truth was defined by God’s discipline, anger and wrath. I don’t do that anymore. I’d rather let truth be what it is. You see, God is the Truth, and truth, like God, makes us feel loved; truth thinks we’re wonderful, even when we feel we should be condemned. Truth carries us when we think we should be left behind. Truth is love. Truth is grace. Truth led me to understand what it means for mercy to triumph over judgment.
I realise what Kimmy says is the truth, because God is the truth, and God takes delight in covering over our weaknesses and failings with his grace. God doesn’t keep track of our wrongs. God is always patient and always believes the best about me. So here I am, a man who has made a great deal of mistakes, learning how to walk with confidence despite them. I’m a son. I’m a brother. I’m a believer in the truth. After all this time, I’m free.