Confessions of a stripper, or maybe pole dancer, or both. I’ve always been drawn to belly dance, pole dance, etc. I even own the shoes. While I’ve never actually DONE anything like that, at least publically, sometimes I almost wish I had; not because starched shirts and plaid skirts and private schools don’t make as impressive a testimony...nothing as altruistic as that. Nope, I wish I had done maybe a little of that at least simply because it was in my heart; I was just much too self righteous to ever act on that. Fear of losing my reputation, fear of man, fear of repercussions, fear of God...all held me back in my religious hypocrisy. Standing high and mighty in my virginity while those around me slept around I condescended to anyone caught in adultery. I scorned and condemned the drug addicts as weak losers. Yep, I was as loving as the cold hard stone the Ten Commandments were engraved on. I felt so entirely righteous and superior and as the scripture describes people like me, a white washed sepulcher - clean on the outside and full of dead men’s bones on the inside. SIN is ALWAYS what lurks behind self righteousness; maybe worse than the overt sinners. Churched up and snobby, keeping it all under wraps and justifying any smidge that peaks out. Here is the problem-It takes you to hell. Front row, center seat. Because the ONE and ONLY sin that cannot be forgiven, is not believing in and receiving Christ. I was so “holy”, avoiding all who weren’t and acting so good. God had to tell me He saw me the same way He did a prostitute on 4th Ave. I was shocked with the breath knocked out of me and humbled to the core. My righteousness was filthy rags. But until we see we are a sinner, we don’t need a savior. And the foot of the cross is the most level playing field in the world where no one comes as better or worse than any other. It freed me to know I was just as unworthy as a whore. In fact, I am a whore on the inside. Maybe never acted on it but I still wanted to sometimes I still do and that’s ok. I don’t think we can ever truly be free OF sin, until we are free TO sin. I equated righteousness with virginity and it was sickening. Matthew 21:31 informs us that tax collectors and harlots will enter heaven before the devoutly religious. This shocks and scandalizes us until we understand that Jesus did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners. And for those who cling to their goodness, that “goodness” could take them to hell. But the hope side is, in finally being allowed to lay down that mask of goodness and acknowledge our true condition we find grace. We find restoration and the promise that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away, and all becomes new without us trying, without self effort and the condemnation that accompanies it. In the same way that some are recovering addicts, I am a recovering Pharisee and that is ok. The same grace that covers them is also enough to cover me.