It’s been awhile since I could sit down and read a book. Too much going through my muddled mind but I finally finished one while on vacation and have started The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel. I got through Chapter 2 last night dealing with our shame. I didn’t understand what shame did to us, how it worked in the deepest parts of who we are, until I started opening up and talking about it with some professional listeners. Shame is a tool of evil that is used to put us in our place, to remind us we are not worthy of God’s love and that He can’t really want a child like us, one who does bad things. Yet, the Bible is filled with stories of people who did shameful things and were reconciled with God. Peter may be one of my favorites. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Jesus three times and Peter responds with (I’m paraphrasing a bit) “nope, not me, never.” And then, guess what? Peter denies Jesus three times and then feels the grief of his actions. So what does Jesus do? He tells Peter to go and feed the flock, to proclaim the good news. Now, I would be inclined to go proclaim the good news quietly, still ashamed of my actions but Peter uses Pentecost for his pulpit. Do I think Peter still wishes he hadn’t denied Jesus? You bet. Did Peter let his shame continue to hold him back? No.
I hope more and more Christians will learn to deal with their shame and guilt, to get it out and feel the forgiveness that God showers on us so that they may move forward with God and not be stuck in the past.
Grace and peace to you.