The weight of guilt felt like it would press me into the ground. Crush me. Part of me wanted it to. I longed for sleep—not to rest but to escape. I didn't want to have to think about what a stupid, hypocritical sinner I was. I'd watched a pornographic video six years earlier, when I was 13, but this was worse. This time I was different. I loved God. I was serious about serving him. I'd flown all the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to be a volunteer at a Billy Graham crusade. I was on holy ground.
Yet one night, when the pastor I was staying with left the house for a meeting, I plopped down on his couch and turned on the television. I mindlessly channel-surfed. Then I clicked past a channel that was all static—the images blurred and hard to identify. I clicked back to it. When I did, the static cleared, and the images sharpened. It was a pornographic cable channel. When I finally turned off the television and went to my room, the conviction I had been holding at bay came rushing into my heart. I'd traveled all this way to sit in a pastor's house and watch porn. What a joke. I was nothing but a disgusting hypocrite. As I lay there staring at the ceiling, I couldn't even bring myself to pray. I finally slipped into a fitful sleep
That's when I had the dream. I dreamed I was in a room filled with index card-sized files. They were like the ones libraries used in the past. When I opened a file, I discovered that the cards described thoughts and actions from my life. The room was a crude catalog system of everything, good and bad, that I'd ever done.
As I browsed the cards under the headings "Friends I've Betrayed," "Lies I've Told," and "Lustful Thoughts," I was overwhelmed with guilt. Long-forgotten moments of wrongdoing were described in chilling detail. Each card was in my handwriting and signed with my signature. Sadly, my misdeeds woefully outnumbered my good deeds.
Then Jesus entered the room. He took the cards and, one by one, began signing his name on them. His name covered mine and was written with his blood. "No!" I shouted, rushing to him. His name shouldn't be on these cards.
I don't think I'll ever understand how he did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and he led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
Reprinted by permission, Multnomah Books, © 2010, all rights reserved.
Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
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