Guest Post: Amelia Rhodes

Today I’m welcoming Amelia Rhodes for her second guest post. Her first was vividly beautiful. You should read it! 

As a writer, Amelia is very good at painting word pictures. This one has some great imagery. 

One evening shortly after Easter, my five-year-old daughter lay in her bed with the covers tucked around her, and as I bent over to kiss her
head goodnight, she looked at me with very serious eyes and said, “I saw Jesus, hanging on the cross, with the nails in His hands. The lies
were covering Him, and the lies looked like worms with eyes. The worms were all over His body.”

I paused, slightly confused, and at the same time amazed by the incredible word picture she had just given me of sin. “Honey, where
did you see this picture?” She looked at me and said in her matter-of-fact voice as if I should already know, “In my imagination.
It was a real picture, just like I can see you, but it was in my imagination, as if my eyes were in the back of my brain, watching a
movie.”

What else can you say to that? I told her that was an amazing description of sin and how Jesus had bore our sins in His body to take
them away while He was on the cross. She soon fell asleep, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her
description. A week later, I nearly fell out of my chair when I came across the words of Psalm 22:6 “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned
by men, and despised by the people.” Many sections of Psalm 22 are an obvious prophecy of Jesus’ death. Jesus even quoted verse 1 while
hanging on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Many believe that verse 6 is also prophecy, a description of the suffering
Jesus endured while taking all of our sins inside Himself and feeling the weight of our own guilt as if it were His own.

I couldn’t escape the worms, so I dug further to see if I could find more. Worms seemed to be such a perfect description for sin – slimy,
slinky, living a life hidden beneath the surface, feasting on decay. As I searched, I found in Mark 9:43-48 as Jesus is describing Hell, he
quoted the prophet Isaiah, ” Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Worms signify death and decay, an eternal
rotting of the soul.

Sad, but true, I often treat some of my sins as if they were a fine meal that I have earned the right to savor and enjoy. I pass them off
as “indulgences” or “guilty pleasures.” Pride is like my favorite appetizer – spinach-artichoke dip. I justify
that a little pride can’t hurt, it just gives my self-esteem a much-needed boost. Just like the spinach-artichoke dip I gorge on,
because how bad can it be after all, it contains vegetables, I over-consume until I’m stuffed full. There’s no room for anything
else. Yet I feel good and important. Bloated, yet satisfied.

Inappropriate media is my main course. I treat certain books and t.v. shows and mindless internet surfing as if it were salmon chalked full
of DHA, brain-healthy vitamins. I fork the flakiness savoring every bite. After all, I’m learning. I’m studying culture! I must know what
the teen obsession is with such literature. I must know what all the rage is about said t.v. show! Never mind the passions they ignite
within me that are less-than-God-worthy. It’s all in the name of enhancing my brain, like a wood-griled salmon seasoned just so and
cooked to flakiness perfection.

Jealousy is my side dish, like a savory, creamy risotto that can be customized a hundred different ways, my jealousy shows up in all
forms. Add a dash of book contract envy, half a cup of your-house-is-magazine-worthy, and a splash of celebrity, and I have a
delicious bowl of jealousy risotto. I linger over it, enjoying the taste in my mouth not caring about the lasting effects. I need to feel
good about myself now, and this dish is working.

Bitterness is my dessert, a rich indulgence that I savor with small bites as if it were a cheesecake that I’m trying to make last forever.
The taste is out of this world and is definitely earned after those long days of suffering at the hands of others. I raise the fork
slowly, considering the individual ingredients with each slow bite. Nothing makes it taste better than continually remembering the
offenses and belittling the offender.

Gossip is my red wine. Paired with my meal, it’s the smooth completion to this fine dining experience. Disguised as fetching stories to
garner a laugh at someone else’s expense in order to make me look better, it runs down my throat in smooth sips, making the pleasure
last as long as possible. The ending result is a warm tingly feeling that is justice in my own eyes.

I began to confront the reality that I had been feasting on these dishes for too long, and yet claiming that I loved Jesus. How could I
continue to justify these offenses as fine dining, when in reality they were worm-filled dishes that had eaten Jesus’ spirit on the
cross?

The pride that I’ve stuffed myself with doesn’t sound so appetizing when I think of it as a bowl full of worms. Suddenly it doesn’t seem
healthy, satisfying or attractive. I think it makes me look good, giving me a rosy glow, but the only one who is fooled is me.

The inappropriate media doesn’t seem so enjoyable when I admit that it doesn’t make me more intelligent or in touch with culture. Instead it
turns my God-loving, God-desiring, intelligent gray matter into a pile of gray worms that have such simple brains, that should you remove
them, there’s not a noticeable change in the worm’s behavior. Jealousy looks more like a plate of leech worms, sucking the love from
my heart. For jealousy only leads to hostility and rivalry, sucking the life out of relationships.
Sweet bitterness seems rather, well…bitter, when I realize it’s nothing more than a child’s mudpie stuffed full of dirty earthworms.
It doesn’t heal the wounds or make the offender pay for his injustices. The only one it poisons is me.

Gossip, seems rather quite like a sludge worm which is often found near sewers, acting as an obvious sign of water pollution. When the
gossip pours out of my mouth it’s a clear indication of a polluted heart, one so consumed with myself only and never the concerns of
others.

Dirty, squirming, feasting on the decay of my soul, these allusions of delicacy are a sign of a fatal heart condition. It was time to go on a
diet. It was time to start eating real food. It was time to consume the Bread of Life and the Living Water that Jesus promised He would
be.

The process of detoxing my soul is painful. Like the times I decide to go cold-turkey and cut myself off from caffeine. Headaches ensue and a
few days of lethargy keep me walking around in a cloud. I can’t think straight, and it seems so much easier to just return to the old way of
living. After all, it felt so good at the time. Or like the times when I get serious about eating right and I cut sugar completely out of my
diet, and all I can think about it eating a cookie; my sins consume me in the same way.

It takes a conscious effort, and the admission that I can’t do it on my own. I need Jesus’ help. After all, He is the one who conquered the
worms. Relying on myself is how I ended up with this rotten diet in the first place.

There’s a story I wanted to tell my husband and a few friends. It was a conversation where a mutual friend had brought up a certain
situation. The conversation made me realize I was not alone in thinking a pattern of behavior in a friend was deceptive. I wanted so
badly to tell people. I wanted to replay the conversation and spin it with humor so everyone would realize, I am RIGHT! I am intelligent! I
have it all together, while these other people do not! Every time the urge surfaced on my worm-tongue. I bit it, imagining that I was biting
a juicy worm in half, and spitting the filth out. That’s how repulsive I wanted the urge to gossip to be. That’s how repulsive I NEED my sin
to be. I prayed for strength in the moment to overcome my tongue. I found it was a much-repeated prayer, but God met me there every time.

When I put myself at the foot of Jesus’ agony, shivering in the three hours of darkness while He suffered the desperate separation from the
Father He loves so dearly, I cannot treat my sins the same. I cannot indulge. I can only mourn. He bore them in His breast, as though they
were worms eating His soul, attempting to destroy Life itself. But He conquered them. He won. And as I identify with Him in that suffering –
I too have the victory. I can eat at His banquet table as an heir, a runaway child rescued from the mud pit, cleaned up, and presented the
finest food at His banquet table. I want to feast on His love for me, and never spit the worms in His face again.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Amelia Rhodes

So...What Do YOU Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s