Basket case. The term originated from WWI, indicating a soldier missing both his arms and legs, who needed to be literally carried around in a litter or “basket.” Today it indicates a state of helplessness similar to the metaphoric removal of the appendages, most frequently in the context of mental health or aptitude. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/basket_case
Recently, I found myself thinking about Matthew 5: 15-16: “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (CSB).
Just what does it mean? One rendering is that darkness should not extinguish one’s light. And, what might that basket be?? I think it could be any number of things. I was challenged by my wife to consider how my preoccupation with past failures might be my basket because I kept bringing them up. It was not helping me in any way. It reinforced a sense of failure, repeated failures.
God knows I have failed in many ways. Certainly, I know that I John 1:9 promises that confessed sins are forgiven and one is cleansed from all unrighteousness. God is faithful and just and promises forgiveness and cleansing. Pretty amazing. Yet, it has been too easy for me to hang onto the shame and embarrassment of my sins. The biggies, to me, are my divorces. Yes, that is plural. My embarrassment and shame have been enormous. Does God make exceptions to His guarantee for forgiveness? It does not seem likely. But, in my case, I had done so. I have allowed the guilt, shame, and embarrassment to hamper me. By so doing, I fail to embrace forgiveness and cleansing from “all unrighteousness”. By default, I am in risk of denying God’s forgiveness and hiding my light under a basket of shame and guilt.
Yes, consequences are not automatically eliminated. I must bear the consequences. But, I do not have to bear the burden of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. Christ paid for that on the cross. Incomprehensible. By failing to accept and embrace that forgiveness I risk hiding my light under a basket and I also risk being a “basket case”. He is my Light. Like the Sunday school song: “I wanna let it shine!”