Confession: I’ve never been one to gossip, but I fell into it recently. Maybe it was the need to feel like I am part of a group. Maybe it’s my insecurity. There is something about gossip that makes me feel included, but it’s a false inclusion. The thing about gossip is that you never know when it’s going to be turned around on you. You never know when you’ll change from included to excluded.
I am ashamed to say that it was not until I realized I was on the other side of the gossip that I felt convicted. It is disappointing to be gossiped about, but it is more disappointing that I participated. I humiliated someone behind their back in order to bolster my own insecurity, and now I know what it feels like. Instead of going to my Maker to find my identity, to soak in His acceptance, I tore someone down behind their back to feel good about myself.
Oh, conviction. I crave it, and I wince at it. It is so clarifying, so refreshing, but it’s like looking in the mirror and realizing you’ve let a really long, black hair grow out of control for about a month. So glad I noticed it finally, but GROSS.
A great deal of my willingness to sin is because I am ridiculously insecure lately. There’s just a lot going on. It’s where I’m at. I read the story of Goliath to Ezra this week from his little illustrated Bible, as I was mulling over this new conviction. There is a picture of David, wearing Saul’s armor, peeking over the top of it, barely able to move much less fight a giant.
That’s me lately.
But I’m not a victim. I let my Saul(s) put ill-fitting armor on me. It seems like a kind gesture, but instead of protecting me from harm, it leads me to danger. Instead of convicting me it shames me. Instead of humbling me, it humiliates me.
1 Samuel 17 describes King Saul and David’s interaction before David went out to meet Goliath. Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.”
This is my favorite part:
So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
He takes off Saul’s attempt to make him feel small, the oversized armor, and he decides to be himself. He takes his staff in his hand. How comfortably and confidently he must have held it. As a shepherd boy, it felt familiar to him. He selected his weapon, 5 smooth stones, put them in his shepherd’s bag. They were a bearable burden. He approached the Philistine in his own skin, and his confidence was real.
You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, said David. But I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
No one can make me feel small. No one gets to belittle me in the task God has put before me. Maybe I won’t do it in bronze armor. Maybe I won’t run out with my sword swinging, but God will equip me to get the job done. I am confident because God has made me confident. And the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
So this is me confessing my sin. And this is me watching Jesus send it down to the pit of hell and commanding it to stay there. This is me accepting his bid to, “Go and sin no more.” And this is me facing my own battles, my own Goliath, in my very own skin. I don’t need to wear Saul’s ill-fitting armor. No one gets to make me feel small anymore. And because I find my confidence in my Maker, I don’t feel like I need to make anyone else feel small either.
Redemption. The Living God has made it so.