Welcome! Grab your tea or coffee, and get comfy. Today might get a bit deep, but it’s a great story. At least it’s been a great story for me!
I was at a worship conference in 2000 and Charlie Hall (Passion Band) was leading a seminar in a small room of about 25 people or so.
He spoke of intimacy with God, then about having a ‘veil’ over the heart, blocking us from having our best relationship with the Lord.
During the session, he went into several different ways we can have veiled hearts. He listed fearing intimacy due to past hurts, as well as jealousy, pride, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, religion (as opposed to an honest relationship with God), an unrepentant heart, trying to entertain or please people as performance rather than worship, independence and lack of submission to leadership. In a room full of worship leaders, those areas hit home in a lot of hearts.
Here are some other possibilities that might apply more to us ‘normal’ people. Is there anything in our life that we love more than Him? Let’s see… our job, our money, our portfolio/investments, our entertainment, movies, books, magazines, clothing, shopping, cars, sporting events, even relationships with other people? Where do we put our time and efforts? (For an honest picture, look at your calendar and your bank or credit card statements.)
Or what about simple neglect? Are we delaying obedience someplace?
Are we robbing God someplace, according to the book of Malachi? Do we truly give of our money, our time and our talents for His kingdom? Yep, I’m going to go there – are we tithing? Are we giving back to God that first 10% in gratitude for what He’s given us?
Are we consumed with greed or lust or envy or jealousy? Do we fret about what the neighbor just got and how we can have it, too?
How about addictions – drugs, alcohol, pornography, illicit sex, social media, even gluttony (we don’t hear that one very often!)
Do we really believe that the Sacred Scripture applies to us? Or have we relegated clear commands to the netherworld of outdated social customs that have no bearing on our own lives? Did Jesus really mean what He said about any given topic – giving, sexual purity, reverence for God, love and respect in marriage and family?
The conference session got much more interesting in the last 15 minutes. Charlie invited us to be desperate for God, to be bold in humility. He gave us a few minutes to pray and search our hearts before God, and ask Him what our ‘veils’ might be. Then he gave us the opportunity to stand up at our seat and repent of the veils. Individually. Out loud. In front of God and everybody in the room. You see, Charlie understood the power of deep humility and true repentance.
I’d like to tell you that I popped right up and spoke out, but I didn’t. About half of the people all over that room did stand and repent. I heard everything from pride to adultery to cocaine addiction; from discord with a pastor to not loving a spouse like Jesus would love. (Every one of us is human, no matter what position we might hold.) I know those folks were propelled into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
In the Catholic tradition, the sacrament of reconciliation can do this for us. In other traditions, having accountability partners, or taking our struggles to a pastor can help to remove the veils from our hearts. The book of James tells us to confess our faults to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed.
Do you want more freedom in your relationship with the Lord, or healing for some guilt or an emotional hurt? God has a remedy if you’ll follow it. Go to someone who can help you meet the Lord. Take off the veil. Willingly show Him your whole heart. He’s not there to condemn you or be angry with you. He wants to love you and set you free in ways you can’t begin to imagine.