The Cost (of a hard heart)


By Beth DeSeelhorst

It’s fun to sin when God isn’t watching. It feels good and wicked, like skinny-dipping when no one’s around. (Shhh—the secret is there’s always someone around, hiding in bushes, or tree branches, or peeking down from the clouds.)

In 1978 more than 20,000 people attended Disneyland’s first ever “gay night.” Gates were closed to the general public. Gay Night in Disneyland! Really, for real? As a member of the homosexual community this was a thing we never would have hoped to imagine. 

I was ecstatic, intoxicated with the thought of being crazy, crooked, authentic me for an entire evening in such a straight and beloved place. Holding hands? Kissing in normal, public Disneyland?  It was a gospel place, though the laughing, chosen people that night didn’t think of it that way. We wandered through every slap-happy theme section of the park, rode with Mr. Toad, and owned the Matterhorn. I was the great pretender to contentment without God on no-line E-ticket rides.

But that neon night my partner and I didn’t hold hands, didn’t drape arms around each other, didn’t seek an open, sanctioned kiss. This was not as fun as I thought it would be or should be. It only provided a spotlight on my sin, with no one around to turn it off.

You have to laugh, don’t you, at the cost of hardening our hearts. That’s exactly why God gave us a funny bone. I laugh at the way rebellion thwarted surrender of my evil heart. I laugh at the way total self-will felt: strong and bulletproof. I thought the struggle, the tug-of-war between sin and the God of my childhood, had been resolved! Right. And pigs fly. 

The space between me and the Lord is full of tears. I discovered that one can drown in old secrets if no one’s around to save you. And discovering that there is Someone around, and not in hiding, no matter what I think, feel, do, or don’t do, I have no more secrets. This loss of self-will might be the antithesis to my old habit of not believing I could be overcome by the Lord’s presence. When I cry these days it's because I actually am being overcome by Him, and I’m not used to it.


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