You might remember the scene in In the Harry Potter series, when a young Tom Riddle approaches a bumbling professor to ask about the dark magic of horcruxes.
“A Horcrux is an object in which a Dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality. Horcruxes can only be created after committing murder, the supreme act of evil. The process for the creation of a Horcrux involves a spell and a horrific act is performed soon after the murder has been committed. There are usually protective measures made to prevent a Horcrux from being stolen and destroyed, such as Counter-Charms and Jinxes. The Horcrux is considered the most terrible of all Dark magic.”
Young Tom Riddle becomes Voldemort and creates and hides several horcruxes, trying to ensure his immortality. Harry and Dumbledore set out on a refreshing, joyous scavenger hunt to uncover these horcruxes and destroy them, thus brining an end to Voldemort’s reign of terror (OK, I may have taken some liberty there, but seriously, if you haven’t read the books, go do so.).
With the idea of a “horcrux,” I can’t help but think that J.K. Rowling has given us a powerful metaphor for what happens when we pursue our sinful desires, whatever they may be. Sins are rarely, if ever, isolated and usually compound upon one another. For example, if a husband chooses to indulge in pornography, he will usually then lie to his wife about it, thus trying to hide the first sin in a second. And, if left unconfessed and unrepented of, that first sin of indulging in pornography will clothe itself in shame and guilt, all still wrapped in lies and now, where that husband used to be affectionate and talkative, begins to close down and there is now a gulf between the couple. He tries to hide that part of his life away, but in doing so, forgets that we are whole creatures. When we try to hide part of ourselves, we cannot give our whole selves to others. In other words, sin has consequences.
When we sin, we somehow believe that we can cut off that part of ourself and hide it away like a horcrux. Unrepentant sin results in the diminishing of the soul. Little parts of ourselves get skimmed away and we try to hide them. We are no longer whole people because there are parts of our lives we are not willing to expose to the light. So, that husband is not distanced from his wife because he is not willing to share his whole self with her.
We could, of course, consider other examples, but the truth remains that sin and lies hold us captive and prevent us from enjoying holistic health in God. Our fore-runners Adam and Eve demonstrated this when God came to the Garden and they hid (Genesis 3). They knew they had sinned and instead of immediately confessing and repenting, they try to hide. And there is nothing new under the sun. We continue to try to hide the sinful parts of ourselves from ourselves, God and others. But the truth will set us free (John 8:32).
The light of God’s Love not only exposes the hidden dark places of our souls but makes them lights too (Ephesians 5:13)! God’s Love begins to patch us back together, exposing those hidden sin-horcruxes, shining light upon them, transforming them and us and makes us “blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” so that we “will shine among them like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:15). There is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1).
There is no longer any need to try and hide away the dark parts of our souls because “your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). The horcruxes have been emptied and bits our souls have ben stitched back together as God brings healing and wholeness from our self-inflicted brokenness. And now, the whole thing is kept hidden with Christ in God. It may be that our longing for the security of “hiding” is not in and of itself a bad thing. Just that we look in the wrong places. But the light of God shines over us in Christ, illuminating and enlightening. We are now hidden with Christ!
This is indeed Good News.
What do you need to bring to the light? What are you hiding? God can heal and bring wholeness. Bring it to him.