A Religious Ass
I was the good son and I knew it! I only got spanked once that I remember, and spankings were in vogue back then.
My grandmother and pastor favored me, and both my siblings and I knew it! I could do no wrong. I was their preacher boy! And so I became the preacher boy, the boy that knew how to call sin “sin.” I was especially good at noting it in my siblings.
I was also a handsome boy and, as the youngest child, I could laugh at myself which made me likable. Can you imagine a handsome, likable self-righteous, religious kid? What an ass!
I got all of the prophetic words! I knew I was going to be a somebody, yet I also had to live with myself; I knew all of the deep down dirty on Lloyd! And I was told sin was a big deal with God so I learned hypocrisy and self-loathing very early…
Can you imagine the experience of living with someone who is always smarter than you, better looking than you, more interesting than you, someone who thinks they are superior in most every category yet is an unstable, insecure schizophrenic?
Imagine living with me! Imagine 47 years of it! My wife Mary is my hero!
For over 5 decades I was a hypocritical, self-righteous, judgmental religious ass who found it easy to see these attributes in others… I was a judgmental paradox of brilliance and belching… an accused accuser!
In my late fifties, when the glorious gospel of grace finally began to peer through my thick veneer of self-made caustic religious hell, it was obviously too good to be true.
First, it can’t be this easy! Words like grace, rest, union, oneness, gift, innocence, perfection and love completely took the wind out of my inferior self-made sails, and the wheels off of my religious wagon.
But little by little the light of something more magical and beautiful than one can imagine began flooding my soul! I don’t get a say in how He feels about me, and I am His joy! His beloved! His favorite!
As this indescribable glory daily penetrates through the darkness that religion built, a new life is beginning to emerge!
Second, the proof has to be in the pudding! If it’s really true, Mary has to be the convincing clincher! After all she’s lived this hell with me.
So I guess y’all can just ignore everything I’ve just written about until Mary speaks!
So yeah, it’s “wait and see” for the rest of you, but I now know the truth about me! And that’s where it starts! Neither Mary or you will believe in me if I don’t believe in me. And believe me, I can hardly believe it myself, but He believes in me! Teehee!
“I believe, help my unbelief!”
I am His favorite! Not by any religious standard; not by any stretch! But His favorite none the less!
When I go to sleep I’m His favorite! When I wake up I’m still His favorite! Whether I behave well or fail miserably I’m still His favorite! This union, oh this union is the game changer! Christ in me and me in Him!
It’s my very own tangible universe to explore! And it’s not a theory or a theology, it’s my daily, moment by moment, experiential reality, complete with emotion. This oneness is more tangible than anything else on earth!
His love comes complete with touch, taste, sight, scent, and sound! It’s intimate and infinite! It’s knowable and mysterious! It’s heaven on earth! And as a son, it is both my right and my privilege. It’s humbling and empowering! It’s vibrant and alive! It’s His promise fulfilled! It’s the tree of life! And it’s ridiculously inclusive! I mean, if I’m in, who isn’t?
If you have ever been around me and picked up the vibe that you “were not enough“ or that you didn’t measure up, I’m asking for your forgiveness. I’m also asking that you please let me know. I’d love to make it right with each and every one of you personally! Because accusation is never the voice of God!
If the accuser found his voice in me, it’s wrong, and I’m sorry!
The thing about deception is that the deceived are the last to know that they are deceived. But I’m being set free by His glorious love! So, dear siblings, I’m sorry. Friends and neighbors, I’m truly sorry y’all, for being such a religious ass…
You matter! You are His prize! He’s so fond and proud of you just the way you are! Because He knows you better than anyone else, including you. And He believes what He knows about you to be true. You are the unique, one of a kind beautiful rendition of His favorite melody! You are His treasure! You too, are His favorite!
I pray that from here on when you leave my presence or read my words, you will feel valued and sense the love of our good heavenly Papa coursing through your veins!
Lloyd Clark is an entrepreneur, a former pastor, and writer. He is passionate about being loved by our Heavenly Father and revealing that same love to everyone he meets. He and his wife Mary have 5 children and 7 grandchildren and live in North Carolina.
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