Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shame, Guilt & Hope

"Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?" ~Ps. 42:11

Ours is often a journey of shadows.

Have you ever had dark questions trembling within you? Maybe not in those terms; using dated words like O, despair, disturbed, or soul. Probably not using words at all, but instead with groans only inwardly audible. Yet, the essence of the questions sat heavy in your gut making you nauseous. Maybe those questions were heard in the hangover after a night of succumbing to peer pressure partying where drunkenness and lustful indiscretions happened. Or maybe you've felt the rough undertone of interrogation after being consumed in the online fantasy world of triple X deceit. All so easily justified beforehand. To be sure, we never find in sin what we go to sin to find.

Shame and Guilt: A two headed shadow monster of the past and present. They are different from one another, but share the common characteristic of being the heart aching, soul crippling, and faith shrinking afterbirth of a sinful consummation. Guilt applies to things you have done. But, the root of our soul's despair is in our shame - the person we are. Shame ambushes you in the still darkness of the pre-bedtime meditations, the early morning quiet times, and in the stifling doubts that accompany a new venture for God. It echoes, "Will I ever change?" Shame says, "This is the real you: damaged, dirty, and broken beyond repair." Condemnation and accusations in true Satanic style: There is no hope. Using the Garden mixture of overpowering truth with subtle lie concocted to convince you that your not-yet completeness in Christ is evidence of your non-salvation and orphaned reality. Yet, as it was in Eden it is so in your mind; a glass of pure water with a drop of poison makes the entire mixture undrinkable. Do not drink the lies that Shame is serving. You are His. You are His Beloved. You are His Beloved Child. Martin L. was right, all of life is (continual/perpetual/never-ending) repentance. And repentance is stronger proof than guilt and shame that the Spirit is in you and since it is in you - you are in Christ! The despairing psalmist provides the sign that points us onto the path of righteousness away from guilt and shame and toward God. Written on that sign is the declaration and demand - HOPE. There is now, right now, no condemnation for you (or me) in Christ Jesus. Preach it to yourself when temptation lurks and shame slithers near. Let the light of the Gospel burn brighter than the dim arguments of the Flesh and the Serpent.

Submit every competing hope, putting it in God alone, for this properly placed hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out and into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. So then, we will yet praise him, our Savior and our God. (Ps. 42: 11, Rom 5: 5)