You’re ugly. You’re fat. You’re stupid. You’re dirty. You’re a disgrace. You’re a failure.

That loud-mouthed bully living inside your head won't shut up.
He keeps on hissing accusations.

A song came on the radio yesterday. It told of a little girl growing up in a fractured family. The divorce tug-of-war between her mom and dad ripped her young heart in two.

I saw my daughter’s face. And mine. My guts twisted inside me. Loud voices of accusation shot through me: Look at what you did. You’re a disgrace. A loser. A shitty father.

At home, at work, at school, they never quit, do they?

You stand naked in front of the mirror. More wrinkles. More fat. Varicose veins. Your husband no longer looks at you the way he used to. But younger women, he notices them. You’ve watched him watching them. And the bully barks: Look at you, getting older and uglier. Those women are better than you. You can’t keep up. You’re stupid if you think you can. You’ll never make your husband happy again.

Wherever we go, whatever we do, they never shut up, do they?
The accusations keep spewing forth.

They mock: You’ve really got one screwed up family, don’t you?
They preach: How could anyone, even God, care about someone like you?
They condemn: You’re a washed-up failure. Your life is basically over.

Inside our heads is a courtroom where our whole lives are put on trial. And we are declared guilty of things. Big things, little things. God things, human things. True things, false things. We never can measure up.


In the novel Wise Blood, the main character, Hazel, sees a large boulder alongside the highway. He pulls up next to it. Painted on the rock, in large white capital letters, is this:

Jesus rescues you from the bullies inside your head, slurring accusations, barking condemnations.

At the very bottom of the boulder, in smaller letters, are two tiny words:
“Jesus saves.”

We park our lives beside that boulder. Condemnations, in ALL CAPS, yell at us. At home, at work, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing. Some are true, some are false, but every one of them accuses: You’re immoral. You’re stupid. You’re a failure. You’re unlovable. Hell will swallow you up.

But a smaller voice, calm, rich in peace, full of hope, shuts them all up with two little words: Jesus saves.

I don’t mean that at some pinpoint in your life—at 7:30 p.m. on March 2, 2004—Jesus saved you. I mean Jesus saves you now. Jesus saves you always. He saves you from accusation. From condemnation. From doubt. From self-hatred.

Jesus rescues you from the bullies inside your head, slurring accusations, barking condemnations.

Jesus says to them, one and all, “Silence. You have no right to accuse my children. They are forgiven. All their failures are forgotten. I have saved them. Whatever sentence they deserve, I have paid the price on my cross. Take your accusations and shove them. You hold no authority over my children. I am their God, their Love, their Life. Stay away from them, now and forever.”

And Jesus isn’t just a churchy savior. He’s the savior in the bathroom, telling that woman in front of the mirror, “I love you. You are precious to me. Don’t hate yourself. See you in me and me in you. You are beautiful in my eyes. You are wrapped with my mercy and clothed in my grace.”

He’s the savior at home, at work, at school. Wherever the voices of accusation go after us. He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. I am your savior. I forgive you. I am with you. Nothing anyone can say to you will alter that fact. In me there is no condemnation. Only acceptance and mercy.”

In Jesus we are everything the voices say we’re not. We are beautiful, strong, wise, loved, clean, perfect, forgiven, whole. Not in ourselves, but in him. He is our new identity.

In Jesus we are everything we never dreamed we could be. In him we are the chosen and beloved of God.

Those two little words, “Jesus saves,” are the two words that matter more than anything.
They mean that God is for us, not against us.
And if God is for us, who can be against us?

My new book, Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul, will be available October, 2017. You can read more about it and pre-order your copy at Amazon. Thank you!