Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Sunday my friend and pastor Steve Wiens recommended three prayers for Holy Week this year, including: “God, reveal where I’m hidden and help me to see.”
The shame of a wounded conscience is a trap. It’s a lie that tries to convince us that hopelessly defective: “I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.”
Shame is the deep feeling of guilt, sadness, and hopelessness that we experience when we become convinced that our shadows, scars and scandals doom us. That past failures, bad habits or poor appearance has made a permanent scar on our self-worth.
Shame Blinds Us
Shame causes people to believe that there is something permanently wrong with them:
“Since I have lost my virginity, I will never be worthy of someone who really loves me.”
“I’d have a lot more friends, if I was better looking.”
“I’ll never be a good musician, athlete or wealthy, but I’d be a lot more popular if I was.”
“My dad said I was a failure and he’s right. I’ll always be a loser.”
There are three reasons we experience shame:
– When we believe that we have failed too often in the past.
– When we feel we are unable to break the destructive habits that are ruining our lives.
– When we believe that the way we look has held us back from success.
Freedom From Shame
God knows that we need freedom from our shame. God’s solution to the shame of wounded conscience is regeneration.
Regeneration is not a self-improvement program or a clean-up program for our sinful thoughts and habits. Instead, regeneration is the beginning of a completely new life. This new start helps us put our failures into perspective. We can know that in God’s eyes, what we were and what we did in the past are gone forever.
“He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning.” 1
This new start helps us to overcome bad habits.
“God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete...” 2
This new start helps us to view our appearance as a gift from God.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us …so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” 3
Though we can always find people who are “better” looking than we are, God has perfectly created us to be our unique self.
Conclusion: Though we can become convinced that our shadows, scars and scandals doom us, God wants to set us free. When we trust Jesus to set us free from our sins and shame he completely regenerates us. He gives us a fresh start, a new beginning. God views us as completely forgiven, deeply loved, totally accepted, fully pleasing and complete in Christ.
Note – Many of these concept and words come from Robert McGee’s excellent book, The Search For Significance.
1 – Titus 3:5, CEV
2 – Philippians 1:6, CEV
3 – Ephesians 2:10, NLT