Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor. (Ephesians 4:25 NIV)
I have to be honest about myself with myself and everyone around me. I have to be honest with those I meet, even if we are only engaged in fellowship for a short while.
I was raised in a home where my grandmother was a preacher and mother of the church, my grandfather was a deacon in the church, their 5 children were all preachers, and we (the grandchildren) were taught to have a relationship with God. We were warned constantly to not play with God. We were always reminded that He was watching us and knew everything that we did. To some, that may seem like the perfect scenario for any child. On the outside, yes, but no one really knew what was happening inside this home. Behind closed doors, we were not the picture perfect family a lot of people were led to believe. I was raised in an old school home by old school people. There were a lot of things that happened that we just didn’t talk about. Through those secrets came a lot of hurt, pain, confusion and lies. My grandparents didn’t sit me down and give me a one-on-one course in lying; however, I did learn through their actions. I was being taught that what people thought of me was more important than being honest with God and myself.
We were expected to act as if life was perfect even though everyone knew it wasn’t. I was told not to lie and was punished when I did. I didn’t realize until allowing God to purge me that I was taught how to lie and be deceitful early on, opening the door for me to tell other lies. I didn’t know until listening to Him and studying the Bible for myself that I was wrong. I was busy deceiving people and myself.
God doesn’t care what we look like on the outside; He looks at our hearts. 1 Samuel 16:7 says: But the Lord said to Samuel “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (NIV) That means that God sees what is in each of our hearts and cares more about the state of our hearts than our outward appearance. That means that He judges, chooses or guides us not by how good we look to others, but by what is in our hearts. That means that God cares more about the inside than anything we can do to the outside. We can fix the outside up to look really nice and lie to hide what is really going on inside. God is God and He knows the truth because he looks on the inside. He wants us to be honest and work on fixing the inside.
By making straight A’s in school, being on my best behavior, being polite, being friendly and helpful to my teachers and fellow classmates, everything seemed fine on the outside but inside was the ugly truth; I was hurting. I began fighting depression and running away from home at an early age, about 7 or 8 until I was about 17. I had no plan of action, I just wanted out.
There was a lot of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and mental. I saw a lot of things happen that shouldn’t have and was warned to not tell anyone. I was being told to trust God, respect Him, follow Him and keep Him as the head of my life. My frustrations escalated and I finally left at 18. I thought going to college would fix the problem, I was wrong.
As an adult and out on my own, I made a lot of bad decisions. I wasn’t properly equipped to handle life and adulthood. Shortly after I left home, I became a sex addict. There are people who believe that a person cannot be addicted to sex, but I’m here to tell you that anything you are willing to put before God is an addiction (IDOL). I wasn’t interested in having a fulfilling relationship with any of the men. I only wanted one night stands. Usually when I met men, within 20 to 30 minutes we were having sex at my place, his, or wherever. I didn’t care that I was going against God’s will. I didn’t care that I was defiling my temple. I didn’t care that I was ruining myself for the man God had planned for me. I was hurting and wanted the pain to go away. That temporary relief for me was sex. I was an addict for about five years. I didn’t have sex all the time, only when things got too “rough” for me to deal with. I’d pray but instead of waiting on God, I’d take matters into my own hands.
I was living a lie. I wasn’t living the life God intended for me to live. I was so busy trying to hide my past that I was ruing my present and may not have had a future if it wasn’t for God. I’m glad that God delivered me. Once I allowed Him to take over and bring me out of my mess, He began to work on healing me. I allowed Him to fix the surface issues but didn’t want Him to venture into my deeper darker layers, crevices and hideaways. Yet, I desperately wanted Him to fix me enough to where the pain would go away.
The truth is my pain wasn’t going anywhere until I allowed Him to expose everything. God’s truth and healing was there for me but I had to go through being exposed, purged, pruned and humbled in order to be restored and healed. I had to experience the HURT inside of the TRUTH. I had to stop lying in order for the truth to flow. I had to stop lying in order to be able to please Him. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. (Psalm 101:7 NIV) The ugly truth is in order for me to be free; I had to lay down all of my comforts, manipulations, secrets and mirages, and allow God to turn me inside out. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8: 32 NIV)
Please give us all the courage to open ourselves completely to You and to ourselves. We know that we do not have to blab our business all over town, but give us the courage to share our testimonies with those who you place on our hearts to do so. Please tear down the façades we hide behind and end our masquerades. Allow us to walk in Your Truth confidently, knowing that the truth will set us free. Place a friendly and loving reminder of Your goodness, mercy and grace on our hearts like a mint on a pillow so that we will never be afraid to show our true selves and issues to You no matter how big or small, dirty or clean, embarrassing or whatever. Please remind us that You love and care for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ladies, God is working on me and building me into the person He wants me to be. I am dealing with my past. I am learning to forgive myself as well as others. I am learning to allow God to dive into my deepest and darkest parts and uproot poisonous thing that may have taken root. Most of all, I am learning to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I EMPOWER everyone to do the same. God will never do anything to hurt you. He will never allow you to be poisoned without offering you the antidote. Just remember that there is never TRUTH without some hurt. We have all heard the saying “truth hurts”, but remember the pain is never in vain. God bless you.
What is your truth? Have you been hiding behind a façade? Are experiencing the purging process too?
Bettina Allen is currently working in security, with prior experience in customer service. She loves to read, write and dance. She loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. Bettina is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Changing A Generation Church. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”