Here is the devotional:
Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, humankind has been coated in shame. God has done all He can to cleanse us of our shame, the greatest expression being Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. No one pays a price that high for something unlovable, unworthy, and undesirable. Beyond cleansing our shame by His death on the cross, God made us in His image, adopted us into His royal family, made us spiritually rich, empowered us with His strength, exchanged our old ugly nature for a beautiful one, and included us in His great adventure. After doing all that, how could any of us continue to think of God as a shamer?
To overcome the lie that God is a shamer, I suggest the spiritual discipline of confession. Scripture challenges us to “confess [our] sins to each other and pray for each other so that [we] may be healed” (James 5:16). If we are not honest with others about the sinful things we do and the character defects we struggle with, Satan has a greater opportunity to keep us in bondage to self-condemnation and shame. Richard Foster put it well when he said, “The Disciplines of confession brings an end to pretense. God is calling us into being a Church that can openly confess its frail humanity and know the forgiving and empowering graces of Christ.” In counseling, we say, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” To overcome shame, we have to quit hiding and covering up. We have to be courageous enough to share our struggles and let the grace and support of others help us heal.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote, “For a good confession three things are necessary: an examination of conscience, sorrow, and a determination to avoid sin.” First, we must go before God and allow Him to prod our consciences about the things that require His forgiveness. Second, we must experience genuine remorse about having sinned and having hurt the heart of God. Third, we must ask God to help us have a strong desire to live holy lives.
God is no shamer. He came to set you free from shame, cleanse you with His love and grace, reinstate you into His family, and make you part of His great adventure. No, God is no shamer.
Here are the scriptures referenced:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 KJV
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James 5:16 KJV
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Proverbs 28:13 KJV
Here are Stu’s thoughts:
I am so glad they included my life verse, James 5:16, in here. That verse holds so much power and most people overlook it.
Well maybe they don’t overlook it per se. They just don’t want to do it. And guess why? Yep…shame.
And I COMPLETELY understand their hesitancy to act.
It’s not easy going up to a brother or sister in Christ and asking them to help you air out dirty laundry. Confession is tough even when it’s just you and God.
When I was teaching the 12 steps for Celebrate Recovery let me tell ya opening up about my past life was not an easy thing to do. These were men I had grown to appreciate and did not want them to see me in a different light.
But, you know, they didn’t. They simply saw me as a man of God trying to get has life together and form new habits.
We confessed our faults each week to one another, we prayed for one another and there was a calmness…a peace in the room like our three angels had their wings spread out over us like a canopy. Heck, they probably did just that.
What a powerful image that is!
But the truth of shame is that God never does it. We do it to ourselves. The devil really doesn’t have to do anything once we go over the edge and sin. We shame ourselves.
a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
a person, action, or situation that brings a loss of respect or honor.
See how easy it is to shame ourselves. We consciously know what is right or wrong. And when we do what is wrong (sin) we feel as if we have let God down and that He doesn’t want to talk to us anymore.
Let me share a truth. God will NEVER not want to hear from you.
You could relapse and be acting a ho and God would still be ready to hear your cries.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. He IS always there. ALWAYS loving. ALWAYS forgiving.
But you must confess. We can’t go without confessing. It would be like sweeping the dirt under a rug. It’s still there. Your friends coming to the house just can’t see it. But you and God know it’s there. Get rid of it the proper way!
So many men’s stories have I heard over the years. Whether in person, email, or over the phone. They would always ask do you feel ashamed to know me or think less of me. My answer has always been heck no. Here’s my story.
Usually they don’t feel so bad after hearing mine. But that is not the point I want to make, because we ALL have stories.
It’s just that some stories are like…that’s it? or holy #&$+ I can’t believe you do did all that.
The point is that God loves even the worst person just the same as He does the nicest person whose only sin is a white lie. He shows no favoritism.
Jesus died for ALL sin and paid the price for ALL sin regardless of what our minds think.
So if you feel shame for a sin that you have committed find the gut strength to share it with someone whom you trust. Once that sin is laid out in the open it loses it power!
You will find love on the other end of that confession not a stuck up nose. For ALL have sinned and fallen short.
If anyone feels the need to talk I’m always available. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t throw stones much less a pebble at anyone.