Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Out . . . Out, I Say!

Center stage, dimly lit, a woman stands — worn, distraught, silent, save for the constant rubbing of her hands. Left over right. Right over left. Each motion just as intense as the one preceding. Her face holds a hollow stare, even at the entrance of her maidservant and a companion.

The intruders pause.

The distance between their words expands to gather in the woman's mutterings.

"Out . . . Out, damned spot. Out, I say."

The torrid display of selfish ambition to which she had been an eager accomplice hangs heavy in the air. Memory of that murderous night slips itself around her neck like a noose, tightening with every labored breath.

". . . Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?"

The crimson stain, now etched in every wrinkle, every pore, labels the woman guilty. A murderer, far removed from the freedom and power she sought as queen alongside her famed husband Macbeth. Scrub all she may, the stains remain. No toil can quiet the demons of her soul or satisfy her soiled heart.

Sitting in the theater, eavesdropping on Lady Macbeth's torturous grief, I considered my own soiled heart. How many times have I scrubbed and scraped, desperate to dispel the stains of my sin? Stuck in shame, embarrassed in my weakness. Spilling every ounce of energy to make myself clean.

"Out . . . Out, I say."

My soul, restless, longs for quiet. The sorrow of my night displays the truth: I am helpless. No amount of scrubbing can return my heart to the condition of its youth.

The rift narrows. My rhythm slows. The scrubbing stops.

I remember now. . . . Jesus.

His love carried my sin to the cross — yesterday's sin, today's sin, even tomorrow's. The crimson blood, spilled out on my behalf, labels this woman forgiven. Forgiven and free. The chains are gone. I can be seen in full for whose and who I am. No hiding. No scrubbing. Just daily giving my heart to Jesus and receiving from Him, His heart for me.

My freedom? It came at a price. But He paid the price out of love — once, for all. And I am oh, so grateful.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1-3 NIV