The amazing thing about being saved is God can redeem life that the cankerworm ate. Experiences lost before salvation can be recovered and experienced with Christ rather than without Christ. I wonder, as I’m writing this, if it isn’t more about His jealousy to experience life with us as He lives His Life through us.
One of the things I didn’t enjoy while growing up was reading. My mind was chaotic and scattered and reading was just a painful reminder that I wasn’t intact. I would try, with the best of intentions, but within a few pages, I realized I couldn’t read well. I wasn’t illiterate; my mind just was too distracted to labor through the words and pages. To this day, my reading is very selective, because I read deliberately and methodically. My reading is more like the mastication of a cow rather than the bingeing of a piranha.
In steps Audible to my rescue. Yay, Audible! Audible is a treasure trove of audio books. And I’ve been swimming in the audio book pool for a couple of years now. It’s so enjoyable to me. I can hear books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. The plus side of all this is that I get to read all those books I was supposed to read in school. I went to a private school and we had to read four books every summer not to mention the 10 to 12 assigned to us throughout the year. I have to confess: I didn’t read a single one. I even had a hard time making it through the Cliff’s Notes version to try to pass a test. Needless to say, I didn’t make very high marks in English. But with Audible, I’m going through some of those missed titles now.
Portrait of Sin in Dorian Gray
I just finished The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I praise God I’m only now reading it rather than in school, when I wouldn’t have appreciated it. I got so much out of it while listening to it with the Spirit.
In brief, the book is about a portrait made of a man named Dorian Gray, who was a superficial, beautiful, rich man. After Dorian saw his finished portrait, he became jealous of the longevity of the painting’s beauty. He makes a deal with the devil to be the one who would stay young and beautiful while letting the painting bear the marks of his age and sin. He basically sold his soul to maintain his shallow beauty.
This is a fictitious story because man’s sins are made evident to all. We may go about thinking we’re masking them, but in actuality, they’re written on our face. We’re naked before the world, all the while hoping to delude others of the truth. Sin mars the face and body of its partaker. It’s made evident to all. Here’s what Oscar Wilde wrote about this subject in Dorian Gray:
“Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed. People talk sometimes of secret vices; there are no such things. If a wretched man has a vice, it shows itself in the lines of his mouth, the droop of his eyelids, the molding of his hands even.”
Back in September, I wrote a post called “The Scorecard of Abuse in My Body.” It speaks of how our bodies keep score of our failure to deal with trauma and abuse. Usually our failures in these areas are done through sin. For example, bitterness eventually will manifest in illness and usually is engraved on our faces. Sin stains the shell as well as the heart and soul of a man.
Dorian hoped to elude the marring of consequence and maintain his good facade. But as with actual life, his sins were known despite the veneer. We are open books; no escape is possible outside of God.
There’s only one solution for the stains of sin: the Life and Blood of Jesus. His Life can liberate my countenance from darkness. But the fact remains that even with His redeeming power, some of our scars may remain as a testament to our journey. Our exterior may bear the portrait of our choices, but our appearance in this world is but a passage to our eternity.