Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shame Off You...Chapter 5: "Shame or Godly Conviction"

Before beginning Chapter 5, I wanted to backtrack and include the ABC ending format of Chapter 4 which was previously posted.

Chapter 4 ended with:

Ask: What hidden "hornet" is stinging on me?

  • Shame is insidious...(I included this passage in the last post)
  • Shame's invitation is : "Hide from God lest you be condemned." Jesus' invitation is: "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
  • I do not have to hide my pain from God and others in order to avoid shame. In fact, when I expose my shame to God and others, my healing can begin.

Choose: I choose today to quit hiding the things that I'm ashamed of. I will trust God and someone else enough to share what hurts me so that it won't keep stinging me.

Now on to Chapter 5. As usual, direct quotes from the author are noted in a different color. This was an amazing chapter. I loved the following words: "True conviction comes not at the sound of God's displeasure in us, not at the moment He turns the light on brightly enough for us to see our imperfections." The author discussed the importance of our ability to differentiate between shame and conviction using the "prodigal son" as an example.

  • The son recognized how poorly his life was going
  • The son realized that the continuance of this lifestyle would result in destruction
  • The son acknowledged his father's riches in comparison to his sin-induced poverty thus leading to thoughts of repentance
  • The son returned to his father and admitted his unworthiness. This admittance led to the acceptance of his father's grace.

Other important points made by the author included the following:

  • "Conviction causes us to feel closer to God. Shame causes us to feel distant from God."
  • When unsure if what you are feeling is conviction or shame, ask yourself: "Am I being drawn to the love of God or do I feel like running away?"
  • Emphasized how the nature of God's kingdom revolves around celebration.
  • "God's love is not a reward for the righteousness it is a gift to the repentant."

Conclusion of chapter:

Ask: When have I confused the voices of shame and conviction?

Believe: A Principle to Ponder

  • "Oddly, nothing had ever felt better or more real or more satisfying than those hot ears and those seemingly self-deprecating words rolling on into the mystery of God's holy presence. While I had never felt worse about my sin, I had never felt so hopeful about my future"
  • It's good to see my sin. Only then can I walk a better path. It is possible to be full of remorse for my mistakes while being infinitely hopeful for my future.

Choose: I choose today to risk going to my Father, telling Him that I have sinned, that I long for His forgiveness and I will expect Him to forgive me, hold me, and teach me.

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