On Condemnation (from 2001)
By Fred Pruitt
(I wrote this way back in the ancient days of 2001, to a long-time friend. I haven’t reposted it in a LONG time, so chances are it may be new to a lot of folks. Like anything from the past, we can always see different ways to express, but I’ve left this one completely intact with the original. I hope it edifies you all! Blessings — fred.)
Thank you for your wonderful honest letter to me. You pour your heart out in ways most people don’t or can’t. I think you and I are very similar in our humanity, in that we both “suffer” from the same apparent “weakness,” i.e. a seeming predilection to insurmountable self-condemnation. I can’t tell you the number of times in my life when I’ve been absolutely frozen in my tracks, by appearances unable to move a muscle, like a frog hypnotized in the gigger’s powerful flashlight, that powerful beam seeming to shine on and show up every failing and detrimental quality in my life, focusing my consciousness on that as if that is who and what I am and I’d better just sit there & let the gig pierce my heart and put me out of my misery.
That may be a southern analogy, so in case you don’t understand what I’m talking about, let me tell you. I used to go frog-gigging with my best friend Bill Stanley when we were kids. His family owned a big lake out back of their house and a row boat, so at night we would get out on the lake with big powerful flashlights and frog-gigs, three-barb-pronged spears of a sort. We would row as silently as we could in the darkness around the lake listening for bullfrogs, who were croaking all around the edges of the lake looking for dates. If we got lucky, we could row silently up to an unsuspecting bullfrog, who had his mind set on a lady-frog, and when we got close enough suddenly shine our flashlight right into his eyes. Once we had them in the lights, they wouldn’t move. Then we could row on up a little closer, and one of us would take the gig and just jab it right into the poor little thing’s chest, impaling him, ruining his night, but delighting ours.
Well, I’ve been just like that frog — in fact, still am. Whenever that flashlight of darkness suddenly turns on & grabs me with its beam, for a time I’m transfixed. I’m caught in the lights, and nothing seems more real to me than my “failings” and my “weaknesses” and my “problems.” God is nowhere to be found, despite the fact that I “say” all the things I’m supposed to “say” and “believe” all the things I’m supposed to believe! I can say “I am Christ in my form” or “these are just my soul feelings” or even “this is the devil’s thinking in me” or “this is the lie of independent self” but nothing seems to prevail over that transfixed mind I seem to be caught in. You and I have both been for a time under the dominion of those who seem to teach that by a simple “seeing” of that “lie,” we can somehow fix ourselves and make ourselves right again. Baloney! When the darkness comes, we are HELPLESS! We can do NOTHING to extricate ourselves from it, be it days, weeks, months, or years. God MEANS IT to be so, dear ______!
You and I are the Same Person! In our humanity, we are different and individual, but we are the Same Person expressing Himself in our different & individual humanities. And we’ve both thrown ourselves into the abyss, the faith-abyss, cast ourselves off the cliff of any ability of our “own,” in order that He might be the ALL in us. And in Him being the ALL, then He is the One who is feeling the condemnation, experiencing the weaknesses, walking in the failures, and beset with the problems of our human lives. HE is the One Who is transfixed in the beam of that frog-gigger’s flashlight, because He is US! He laid down His life on the Cross of Calvary, with no human ability to redeem it or pick it up again, to take upon Himself the SIN of all mankind, to experience its darkness, its condemnation, its futility, its helplessness, its fear, its rebellion, and to die with all that on Him and to go into Hell itself, with no hope of escape, except by a miraculous rescue from Above, by the power of the Father, whose promises He trusted yet in the end even doubted on the Cross when He said, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
He endured that death, that utter futility, that SEPARATION from God, trusting not in Himself, but on the power of Another, for the “joy that was set before Him,” which was “bringing many sons unto glory.” So, that’s the way I see our common condemnation. It is our “weakness” whereby His strength is shown. Our “inability” to rescue ourselves from feeling angry with our spouses, or unloving, or irresponsible, or whatever it is, is the DEATH He dies in and as us, that He might rise in us, again and again, to bring others to Life. It’s a MIRACLE RESCUE, from beyond the beyond, “Deep Magic from before the dawn of time” as C.S. Lewis wrote in the Chronicles of Narnia. NOTHING we do ourselves, by word-formulas, by right believing, or by anything else, but by HIM ALONE — and HE IS FAITHFUL to do it.
“It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” This is enacted again and again in us — it pleases the Lord to bruise US, because in that “bruising,” Life comes forth.
So, don’t try to save or change yourself, but take pleasure in condemnation, in feeling angry toward your husband, in feeling powerlessness and hopelessness, in feeling like you are the farthest thing from being “Christ in your form,” because in that, and BECAUSE of that, HE manifests His Life, in HIS OWN WAY, and in HIS OWN TIME. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” You can’t SEE, FEEL, HEAR, or humanly KNOW Spirit!
Yet HE IS, WE ARE, I AM!
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thes 5:24).