Sometimes the reason we pretend that we are better than we are is because we think that our friends and family won't love us if they knew about our secret sins, or wouldn't forgive us if they discovered how badly we've blown it. We even think our sins are too big for God to forgive. But God is bigger than our failures, and His love is stronger than the ways we fall short. And that's the point - His power to change us shows how incredible He is. We don't change us; He changes us. And when we take the "risk" to believe in His forgiveness, He takes the burdens we've been carrying and transforms us with His love so effectively, we experience freedom and others take note.
Danelle knows that first hand. She writes about a small group experience during "Rooted" last Spring. "The night we discussed our strongholds, I was full of anxiety. I was battling it out in my head as to what to say and exactly how honest and open I was going to be. There were too many strongholds I could open up about, but there was one that was particularly strong. By the time it got around to my turn I was already a complete mess. I remember this voice inside me saying, 'You have to go there; you have to say this out loud; you have to tell the secret that has been crushing you for so many years. Trust, Danelle.' I did trust, and I went to that vulnerable place. I opened my heart, and I was not judged. I immediately felt a release. The wonderful women in my Rooted group had compassion for me and laid their hands on me to pray. I left the class in a complete fog. Looking back on this experience, the Holy Spirit was guiding me the whole way.
The next day at work, two different co-workers, at two different times came into my office and said, 'You look different today; you look lighter, you know...' and they flapped their arms in the air. I was shocked. I almost fell over. They had no idea what I was going through all these Monday nights at Rooted. And, the truth was, I felt exactly like what they were describing to me. I was free and forgiven of the stronghold that weighed so heavy on me for so many years. I can testify today: We gain forgiveness from renouncing and repenting from the influence of strongholds.
My heart was healed that night. The burdens, the walls that surrounded my heart are gone. I woke up a new person, free of the feelings of being unworthy and unforgiven...completely surrendering my life to Jesus Christ."