Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.
Isaiah 55:7 AMP
Every single Bible translation that I’ve checked uses the word ‘return’ in this verse. Not ‘turn,’ but ‘return’ – implying that the sinner was once with the Lord and left Him in some way. I would guess there are quite a few ways in which we turn away from God, but today I want to address an effective and regular weapon the enemy uses to sow discord between me and the Lord: accusation.
…for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.
Rev. 12:10 NASB
This isn’t just a description of Satan; it reads like a full title. “He who accuses them before our God day and night.” That’s what he does and who he is. Day and night! That accursed tongue is never silent about any of us, and we’re often privy to what he’s saying. Jesus said, “Agree with your adversary quickly,” but I don’t always do that. Instead, I receive what he’s saying as the Truth – and it absolutely isn’t.
The Truth is Jesus Christ. What I’m being accused of may be true, but I’m subject to a higher reality than what is merely true. I belong to the Truth now, and He is transcendent over even an accusation that is true.
For example, here’s an accusation that comes for me somewhat regularly: “You’ve put your foot in it once again, Jennifer, shaming God and Shulamite Ministries and showing yourself to be utterly foolish (or wicked or crude or low, etc.).” Now, more often than not, that’s an accusation that rings true because it is. Sometimes I despair that I will never stop putting my foot in it! And I am admittedly and specifically foolish.
“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not…”
1 Cor. 1:27-28 NASB
This is all true! But it is not the Truth of who I am or the life I now live. I am no longer confined to the limitations of my natural birth, because I was born again. Because it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, I am much more than the sum of my parts. I belong to the Way, the Truth and the Life.
“Agree with your adversary quickly.” Humility agrees quickly when the accusation comes, while pride receives it like a guest from hell. My pride is ever ashamed at my foolishness, my inability to walk the line. My pride opens the door when that accusation comes and the next thing I know, I’m in a shame spiral. And as long as I’m brooding on my self, I’m not looking where I should be. I turn away from the Lord every time I fixate on me, and that’s Satan’s goal.
So what happens when the Holy Spirit snaps me out of the spiritual funk that comes with every accusation that I welcome in? Well, my pride would block the return if it could (and it has and does, though not as much as it used to). Pride says there’s no way that God will forgive you YET AGAIN. Pride says that the reason you feel separated is because God is done with you. Pride says that God is NOT good. Pride is a remorseless slave driver that delights in arrogance and self-hatred equally. It is always, always against God.
…and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.
THIS is God. When I let hell in and indulge an accusation, I confess it and get cleansed by the Blood of Jesus. I “return to the Lord.” Sometimes the repentance is deeper, and sometimes the Spirit moves quickly and lightly – like Brother Lawrence’s plea, “Hold me closer, Lord.” Either way, I return.
Returning has been one of the biggest dealings in my walk as a disciple. This is an actionable side of rooting out The Great Lie, and it takes the time it takes. May we all become ever less susceptible to the Accuser and ever more attuned to the Truth, in all His glorious, merciful ways!