Well, why don't you... I CAN'T! I just can't.
You know these words and so do I. They are the words we use when we know we're supposed to do the right thing, but we find ourselves unable to do it. I can't. I can't be in the same room as that person. I can't bring myself to tell the truth about what I've done. I can't go back to that place. I just can't.
These words are almost instinctual. They are like the reaction you get when your wound is poked. They come from deep within, almost without thinking. Something lies hidden deep down inside of us, something we are trying to protect. Something we react to like an animal caught in the corner.
Because the truth is we are afraid. We are afraid of something. These words declare our fear. But do we know what it is? Could we put our fear into words? Or are we afraid to?
Do you want to know what I'm afraid of? This is what I'm afraid of. I am terrified that when I look into that dark, hidden place inside me. When I stop defending it like a cornered cat, and actually look at it, I will find something I hate. In fact, my true fear is that I know I will find something I hate, so 'I can't' bring myself to look at it. I want it to stay in the dark, where nobody - not even me - can see it. I'm not afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of the light. I'm afraid that when the light hits it - and I see it - I will have to acknowledge that I deserve to die. That I truly am despicable.
And it is here that Jesus meets me. Not to expose me. Not to condemn me - for I am already condemned. But to save me. To love me when I know no one should. He Himself said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17). At the exact point when I know I deserve to die, Jesus says "I'll die for you." At the moment when I know I am despicable, Jesus says, "I love you anyway. I'll clean you up. I'll be your light. I'll take your fear."
"This is the judgment," Jesus said, "the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:19-21). I don't need to be afraid to expose my darkness, because Jesus has taken it to the cross. I can come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that Jesus has done this for me. That God Himself is my light.
Too many Christians are concerned with their own righteousness. Are we trying to protect our self-righteousness, or are we confessors of the truth "I am a sinner, whom Christ has forgiven"? Let us give God the glory and cover our own unrighteousness no longer - let us instead be covered by Christ - covered by His blood - covered by His light, for that is why He came - for you.