For many years we have had an old antique bedside table in our bedroom. I wouldn’t say it was particularly valuable or beautiful. The top was built out of five pieces of oak wood glued together to make a wide top. The finish was worn and showed numerous water rings, cuts, deep scratches, and large nail holes where repair had been attempted over the years. The top was cracked in two at one of the glue joints and it was not level. The legs were very rickety. But it stood like that beside our bed for almost twenty years.
About a year ago I decided to repair it so it could be used at our daughter’s wedding. I started out with the intent to reglue the joint in the top, sand it smooth, and restain and reseal the top. It was a minimal fix so that it wouldn’t fall apart during the wedding and maybe look somewhat presentable. I aligned the two pieces of the top as best I could, then glued and clamped them. The next day as I was removing the clamps, I dropped it. It broke into the five original pieces that together made up the top of the table. Initially, I grumbled (a lot) about the work I had done that would have to be redone. Then, I realized that now I could realign all five pieces and make it look much better and flatter than it was before. After gluing it up and clamping it, I decided that the four legs which were attached to the base and top needed to be reinforced so it would not be rickety. That meant removing the screws that had held it together after the original glue failed… You have probably guessed that by the time I finished with the table, I had taken it completely apart and sanded all of the pieces, reattaching them with glue and concealed screws, and restained and applied sealer to the whole piece. It had taken a lot more work and time than I originally intended to put into it. But now the finish was consistent, and it was sturdy.
But it was still not perfect. Even though I had sanded for hours (and the harder I sanded, the smoother it got), I could not sand deep enough to remove all of the cuts and scratches. The table would always bear the scars of wear and abuse. And there were still the nail holes. I decided not to fill them with wood filler, but rather to leave them as a reminder of the years of use. The table was richer in color, it bore the marks of character, and now it was beautiful. It is still not valuable in dollars, but in my mind it is priceless.
I am like that table. My years of porn use had left me not with physical scars, but with emotional cuts and “nail holes.” Part of me was spiritually “rickety”; my foundation was weak. Many relationships were not level, and the finish was worn out and needed work. In short, I was broken and in need of restoration.
The revelation and confession of my sin was the first step as I opened up and let God “take me apart” and free me from bondage. The deep sanding of repentance smoothed away the scars of sin. The stain of Christ’s blood renewed me as I experienced the freedom of forgiveness. The sealer of redemption covered me, and I knew that He saw me as worthy in His eyes. Now I realized that I had been set apart, chosen “before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4). My restoration is not complete. I am still deeply flawed, but I am a new creation in Christ. The scars of sin are still there. The nail holes are a reminder of the consequences of sin and the great love of my Redeemer. My story is one of revelation, repentance, renewal, redemption, and restoration. It is not what I have done but what God has done.
I often pray for the men and women of the Church. I pray that God would take our brokenness that separates us from Him and use the confession of our sin to draw us closer to Himself. I pray that we would turn and RUN from sexual sin, in whatever form it has taken, and that we would repent and let the healing power of forgiveness rescue us. I pray that Christ would purify His Bride, the Church, for His return. And I pray that we would see His faithfulness, grace, and unfailing love in His restoration of our lives.
By Greg Kerr
A note from TrueNorth’s founder:
Greg is my husband and the bravest man I know. We are on a journey with God that has only grown sweeter as we have grown in honesty and transparency with each other and with God. If you missed Greg’s previous posts on confession, repentance, renewing the mind, and redemption, I hope you’ll read them and find encouragement for your own journey with God.
Our goal is to present grace-filled messages of hope for those who struggle with issues related to sexual sin or porn use, and for those who love them. At TrueNorth we share resources that can help you find true freedom in Christ. To subscribe to our newsletter and blog, click here. Thank you for reading, and we’d love to hear from you!
Founder and CEO of TrueNorth Freedom Project in Atlanta, Georgia
Photo credit: Gina Zee