Once upon a time there was a vast kingdom called the Land of Restored Hope. The King of this Kingdom was well-respected, as He had delivered it from the hands of its enemies long ago.
Miss Guilty Ought-To lived within one of the cottages in the Land of Restored Hope. It was just the right size for her and had a little hearth on which Miss Guilty cooked all of her meals. Inside her cottage were two very special treasures. One, a large mirror that hung proudly on the wall, and the other, a small dirty envelope, which she kept tucked in her bosom.
Although Miss Guilty Ought-To was not particularly proud of her looks, she obsessed with how she looked to others. She referred to the mirror often, checking her hair and her clothing, especially before leaving home. She was never pleased with her reflection, but even so, she consulted the mirror many times during the day. If she just worked harder, she felt her image would surely improve.
The crumpled envelope, you ask? It held her own secret faults, kept firmly in place by guilt. Although she was careful to keep it hidden most of the time, she took it out in the evenings to remind her how truly unworthy she remained.
One glorious day, the King’s Son visited Miss Guilty Ought-To, inviting her to become one of the King’s own citizens. She was honored at His request. Miss Guilty Ought-To welcomed Him into her humble home, and as they conversed, He presented His terms of citizenship.
He first asked for her little, worn envelope, explaining how He wanted to exchange it so that she would no longer be burdened with the weight of its contents. Although the envelope pained her greatly, she’d grown quite accustomed to it and hesitated before agreeing to His request.
As He looked at her with His clear eyes of Love, Miss Guilty Ought-To moved her hand to the envelope. Ashamed, she slowly pulled it out and opened it, quite embarrassed to expose all her past to Someone in His exalted position.
He never took His loving eyes off her pitiful face and when she glanced into her hands she found that the dirty blackness of her envelope had been exchanged with a simple, lambskin wallet. As her heart leapt with joy, she tucked the wallet next to her heart and felt certain that it held a warmth she’d not known before.
Next, the King’s Son moved toward her mirror. He took off His own heavy cloak and placed it over the mirror. He explained gently how she would no longer need to refer to herself in anything. Instead, rather than fixing her eye on herself, she’d be able to see from His perspective anytime she chose.
“How can this be?” asked Miss Guilty Ought-To.
In silent response, the King’s Son revealed a unique pair of glasses, which He placed gently upon her face.
With a profound sense of awe, Miss Guilty Ought-To was surprised with the insight she received through the lenses of those glasses. Gradually, her own little dimly-lit cottage looked brighter and warmer, and the entire room enlarged before her eyes with glory and hope. Her eyes shimmered as she looked into the gentle eyes of the King’s Son and she thanked Him through her tears.
“There is yet one more gift,” the Son announced as He placed a beautiful book of Truth upon her humble table. “Inside you will find detailed plans for how to accomplish the life into which I have called you.”
As she waited in silence, a deep peace filled her heart. Miss Guilty Ought-To fingered the pages eagerly and discovered that, as she did so, the Presence of the Son and the Words of the Book became one unified whole.
The following days were glorious ones for Miss Guilty Ought-To. There was a lightness in her step and she looked forward to donning her glasses while reading the Book.
She discovered a slight problem with the glasses however, as they contained some sort of progressive lens. If she got up too quickly or moved too suddenly, they made her dizzy and she would lose her balance. Sometimes, her eyes didn’t instantly focus through the lenses and she had to wear them for longer periods of time before receiving a clear view of the Son.
As the weeks passed, Miss Guilty Ought-To became busier, and some days were just too hectic to wait on the glasses to focus. She found that she could see the words of the Book without the glasses and made a point every morning to rush through at least a few words before jumping into her responsibilities.
Out of habit, she also begin peeking underneath the cloak at the mirror again. At first, it was just to check her hair or only her hemline, but in time she was throwing back the lining of the cloak to get a whole body view of herself. One day, the King’s cloak fell completely onto the floor and she left it there. She comforted herself knowing that the mirror could show her what she should do, and she learned she could read the Book with one eye on the mirror.
Committee meetings, visiting the sick, and attending services kept Miss Guilty Ought-To busy. The peace she had once known became increasingly difficult to recapture.
One evening, after a full day of doing what she should, she recalled one particular sin which the Son had taken from her in the dirty envelope. Feeling a twinge of guilt, her hand moved to her bosom where she felt the bulge of the leather wallet still hidden there. As she removed it and turned it over in her hand, she also remembered her recent anger. The wallet seemed to bulge ever so slightly. With a twinge of shame, she realized that her secret faults must gradually be filling her new wallet.
Overcome with remorse, Miss Guilty Ought-To cried bitter tears, knowing that she had disappointed the Son in a most severe way. Holding the leather wallet close to her chest, she rocked and moaned, doubting her pardon and embracing her guilt.
Years passed and Miss Guilty Ought-To resigned herself to the duties before her. Rarely were her days accomplished with joy. When she was especially low, she would search for her glasses to skim the Book of Truth. Quite often, her impatience got the best of her and she would set aside her glasses to check her reflection within the mirror. Yes, the freshness of her youth seemed lacking and the old passages dry and void of meaning.
Miss Guilty Ought-To diligently accomplished her duties, but her actions were methodical and her attitude lacked grace. She was quarrelsome to those closest to her and as she aged, she became increasingly hard to please.
As the years stretched on, Miss Guilty Ought-To settled into her routine, consoling herself that, at least one day, the Son had promised to move her into His own palace. Having spent her energy on many benevolent deeds, sickness and age confined Miss Guilty Ought-To to her bed. With nothing to do but wait on the Son, she propped herself in bed, put on her special glasses and opened the Book.
In time, her focus cleared, and as she read, her heart quietened into a peace that she hadn’t felt for quite some time.
Her eyes fell upon a particular passage and she read as if for the first time, “The blood cleanses us from all sin.”
All sin? She pondered. All sin? And she fingered the leather wallet still lodged there close to her heart.
“Take it out,” the Son said. And she looked up to realize that He had crept quietly beside her bed.
Ashamed at it’s bulge, she obeyed weakly, pained to open such darkness before His Light.
“All things become visible when they are exposed by the light,” He said gently. “For everything that becomes visible is light.” (Ephesians 5:13)
Turning her face from both He and her wallet, she gingerly opened the wallet to reveal its contents.
“You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you,” He said (John 15:3). “You are a temple of the Living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16).
Without comprehension, she turned to peer within the wallet. There, from the midst of a radiant glow, she was shocked to find no accumulation of sin. The bulge she’d felt was not from her faults at all, but sourced from a constant inflow of His very own righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“The old things have passed away, sweet child. Behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:16). As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions from you” (Psalm 103:12).
“But what about those sins that I committed, after you took away the first ones?” Miss Guilty Ought-To stammered.
“The death that I died, I died for sin once for all (Romans 6:10). When I died to sin, You too died to sin (Romans 6:6). And having been freed from sin, you became a slave of righteousness (Romans 6:18).
“So why have I continued to feel so guilty?” Miss Guilty Ought-To hastily exclaimed.
“You were listening to the wrong voice. Accusation and guilt is always the voice of our enemy, not Mine (Zechariah 3:1). My voice guides into Truth, never piles on guilt (John 16:13). Your conscience can either respond to My voice or the voice of the evil one. When the voice is guilting you over ought-to’s, you can know it’s never of Me (Hebrews 9:14).
“Even when you have My new life within you, the evil one will disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is always trying to get you to believe that your present thoughts and feelings are more real than the Truth of My Word. His whisper can lead your mind astray from simple devotion to Me (2 Corinthians 11:3). He can be pretty convincing, huh?
“Your faith glasses allow you to increasingly recognize My reality. As you practice using them, you will become more familiar with My truth than his lies of thought and emotion. You really must walk by faith and not by sight.”
“But, I know I was unpleasing to You!” Miss Guilty Ought-To cried.
“My dear child, faith is what pleases Me (Hebrews 11:6). All I asked was that you wear the faith glasses. Had you kept them on, you would have discovered the richness of living next to Me in every moment.
“My death canceled all guilt – your past sins, your present sins, and your future sins. They are all finished (John 19:30). I’ve set you free from obedience to sin and to death (Romans 8:2).
“But that’s not all. Anything required of you, I have already fulfilled (Romans 8:3). All the ought-to’s of the Law have already been fulfilled in you through Me (Romans 8:4). You are my workmanship, created to accomplish the good works that the King prepared beforehand for you (Ephesians 2:10).
“You see, keeping ought-to’s is not what makes citizens perfect (Hebrews 10:1). If that were the case, it would have also been enough to cleanse your conscience of guilt (Hebrews 10:2).
“No, My will has set you apart (Hebrews 10:10). When I delivered you from your enemies, I also perfected you. I continually, automatically, purify and renew your soul as you rest in Me (Hebrews 10:14). I remember your faults no more (Hebrews 10:17).
“And since there is perpetual forgiveness going on, no one, including you, has to do anything to appease Me for their sins (Hebrews 10:18). When I come to move you into My palace one day, no reference will be made about sin. All that’s left for you now is salvation.”
With new understanding in her heart, Miss Guilty Ought-To quivered, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I did, my child. Each and every one of these promises is in the Book. Those that wait on Me shall know My salvation (Psalm 62:1).”
“But what about my name? I am not worthy. I am all guilt and ought-to’s,” she cried.
“You have been called by a new name, which My Mouth alone has christened (Isaiah 62:2). To the one who overcomes by faith, I give a new name (Revelation 2:17). As you watch with the glasses of faith, you will see what I will speak to you (Habakkuk 2:1). You will know your name only as You know My voice.
“The glasses of faith aren’t just for seeing”, the King’s Son said smiling. “They are also for hearing My word, tasting My goodness, smelling My fragrance and grabbling hold of My purpose for you. Keep the glasses on dear child,” He said as He touched her hand. “For when you activate your spiritual senses with things above, My invisible, spiritual Treasure becomes your very life (Colossians 3:1-4). And that’s something we both want, isn’t it?”
Miss Guilty Ought-to blinked back the tears as she saw the truth of the Book and His spoken Word were the very same. “Help me to live in these Truths,” she said weakly.
“I’m always ready, My dear child. Always ready.”