Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Excerpt from "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" [THE ROOM]

I don't know if I mentioned this or not in my review of Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but I wanted to share this excerpt with you from Chapter Seven: A Cleansed Past: The Room.

In this chapter Mr. Harris tells of a dream he had, a "particularly stirring one."  Please read this!  It will give you a whole new perspective on your thought life.

The Room

"In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.  There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.  They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.  But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.  As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read 'Girls I Have Liked.'  I opened it and began flipping through the cards.  I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. 
      And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.  This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.  Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
      A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents.  Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.  A file name 'Friends' was next to one marked 'Friends I Have Betrayed.'
      The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird.  'Books I Have Read,' 'Lies I Have Told,' 'Comfort I Have Given,' 'Jokes I Have Laughed At.'  Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: 'Things I Have Yelled at My Brothers.'  Others I couldn't laugh at: 'Thing I Have Done in Anger,' 'Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.'  I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.  Often there were many more cards than I expected.  Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.  
      I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.  Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards?  But each card confirmed this truth.  Each was written in my own handwriting.  Each signed with my signature.
      When I pulled out the file marked 'Songs I Have Listened To,' I realized the files grew to contain their contents.  The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file.  I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
      When I came to a file marked 'Lustful Thoughts,' I felt a chill run through my body.  I pulled the file out, only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card.  I shuddered at its detailed contents.  I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.  
      Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage.  One thought dominated my mind: 'No one must ever see these cards!  No one must ever see this room!  I have to destroy them!'  In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out.  Its size didn't matter now.  I had to empty it and burn the cards.  But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card.  I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when when I tried to tear it.
      Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.  Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.  And then I saw it.  The title bore 'People I Have Shared the Gospel With.'  The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused.  I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands.  I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
      And then the tears came.  I began to weep.  Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me.  I fell on my knees and cried.  I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all.  The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.  No one must ever, ever know of this room.  I must lock it up and hide the key. 
      But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.  No, please not Him.  Not here.  Oh, anyone but Jesus.
      I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards.  I couldn't bear to watch His response.  And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.  He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.  Why did He have to read every one?
      Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room.  He looked at me with pity in His eyes.  But this was a pity that didn't anger me.  I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.  He walked over and put His arm around me.  He could have said so many things.  But He didn't say a word.  He just cried with me. 
      Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.  Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.  
      'No!' I shouted, rushing to Him.  All I could find was to say was 'No, no,' as I pulled the card from Him.  His name shouldn't be on these cards.  But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.  The name of Jesus covered mine.  It was written with His blood.
      He gently took the card back.  He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the 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 left to be written."

Taken from I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris.
Published by Multnomah Books.  ©1997
Chapter Seven: A Cleansed Past: The Room.  Pages 104-107.

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Wow.  When I first read this, I nearly broke down and cried.  As I sat there reading this chapter again and typing it out for you to see, I kept thinking, "What if, for every thought I had, I had to, unwillingly, write it down--be it happy, lustful, sad, or angry.  If I sat down--in reality, mind you, not a dream--and wrote down every single thought in every moment from here on, I would be just as ashamed as Mr. Harris was in his dream.  My family would see them, my friends would read them."  

To me, this blows my thought life out of the water.  Constantly, I must seek forgiveness for the thoughts I think, not merely the words I speak.  

". . .We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ."
[2 Corinthians 10:4-5, emphasis added]

"I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
[Matthew 12:36-37]

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7 reflections:

Christina L said...

Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. This made me cry. Thank you.

Brittney Johnson said...

Oh my goodness Sarah this is so good! This brought tears to my eyes. Such a touching illistration! Thanks for posting this. This really touched my heart. I think everyone should read this it's just so eye-opening.
I think I am going to look into getting this book!

Leighanna Rose said...

Hi Sarah,
I am so touched by this post....wow. I've read the book before....but this part...
Just wanted to let you know!
Beautiful, beautiful post!
-Leighanna Rose
Wildflowersinbloom.com

Andria Dragorn said...

That... was so powerful. Thanks for sharing. <3

Brittney Johnson said...

Hmmm did my last comment go through?

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Wow! Thanks for the bombardment of comments! This is amazing. =]

I'm so glad to hear how this has touched you ladies. It was my pleasure to share with you! It gives you a whole new perspective of how to think before you speak, right? =] If you haven't read this book, please do!

Thank you, ladies!

P.S. I'm sorry, Brittney! Yes, your comment should be up there. ;D I just now got around to publishing them ^__^

Brittney Johnson said...

Oh it's fine! I just thought something went wrong! And yes it puts a totally different perspective on things!