it happened in her twenties. she was worn by the guilt of it late into her fifties. three decades went by before the word like a gentle hammer went out from heaven’s throne to set her free. but when it did, it was a beautiful release.
her faith was still newborn. not much time had passed since she had started to believe in Yeshua the Resurrected, the One who undid the sins of the world. one of the elders of the church she had joined saw her and smelled innocence in the air. a door of opportunity stood before him. she would be easy prey.
the affair came and went. the years too. they piled and piled on top of the wound. her path took her from the ends of the earth to its centre and back. her circles changed. she changed. but the memory remained a wall between her and forgiveness. no matter how many church meetings she attended or messages she heard, a hypocrite lived in her skin. she was marked with a permanent mark: guilty. and the shame would take her to the grave.
at the close of a meeting one Saturday night, she went to speak to a young man. she looked at him. with a titled head, she asked if he could repeat what the preacher had shared. she hadn’t quite gotten the whole message. he said ‘yep’, made a cup of tea and began to tell the story again. of the true hypocrite. the sheep in wolves clothing. the one who’d exchanged a bitter world for innocence, but for some reason returned to his old haunts to pretend to be what he no longer was. the hypocrite was not one who stumbled and got up again. that was the way of the righteous. to fall seven times and still to rise. no, as in the parable, he was the servant who, instead of looking after the master’s house until his lord returned, decided it was better to drink with the drunkards and beat his fellow servants for sport.
her eyes filled and gleamed. the young man panicked a little. she wandered off. went to sit on the blue couch next to the tea table. he followed and sat on its arm. ‘I always thought I was the hypocrite,’ she began. as she spoke, the years of shame unravelled. the wall in her heart began to crumble. her inability to forgive herself was swept away with her tears. she sobbed and sobbed, finally free to let condemnation go and be who she had always been.