Thursday, July 2, 2009
There was a time in my life where I felt worthless. I had sinned. I was ashamed. I felt undeserving of God’s love because of the sin in my life. I thought I was unworthy to be in His presence; to be given His love; undeserving of His forgiveness. I understood my faults. I knew I had sinned. After accepting His love, I needed to understand God’s Mercy and Grace.
Ephesians Chapter 2: 1- 5, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the World and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those that are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
God did show me mercy. Through His grace my sins are forgiven. I am a new creature in Christ. Ephesians 4: 22-24; “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” God’s love is unfailing. But, immediately after accepting it, thoughts of guilt and feelings of shame about my life surfaced. Shame is a painful feeling caused by awareness of one’s shortcomings or guilt. I stress PAIN-FULL….full of PAIN… Ok, you understand.
Now, shame is not always a bad thing. Some shame can be healthy. When I do something wrong, it is healthy for me to feel some shame. It causes me to be remorseful and want to right the wrongs in my life. Like when I was a child and ate all of my mom’s candy. I lied and told her that it was not me. But it was; sorry mom. Forgive me?
But shame can be very harmful. It can lead to guilt; and, guilt is destructive and critical. I have to remember that in the book of John, chapter 3, it clearly states that Jesus did not come into this world to condemn this world. He came to save.
Some of the shame that I have held on to in my life was never mine to begin with. I was, for so long, ashamed of the abuse that I endured in my childhood. I owned the guilt for what had happened. If you have not been abused it is hard to understand how a victim can blame themselves.
Throughout my life, as I made mistakes the guilt would become stronger and stronger. I hated the guilt and shame I felt. I hated it because it made me hate me. I struggled. I wanted purity. Through the Holy Spirit, God took me to the book of Isaiah. In the 43rd chapter, verse 1: “But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you (Rebekah Lynne), he who formed you (Rebekah Lynne); Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”
Redeemed! To make amends for; to compensate for; to make good; to atone for…. God had redeemed me. I was His. Not only was Christ the atonement for my sin; but He was also giving me back the innocence of my life. He was healing my broken heart. He was releasing me from the oppression of guilt (Luke 4:18). I was oppressed from the years of guilt…. Guilt that was never mine to begin with. But through Christ, I received freedom.
“But God what about the mistakes I have made,” I asked Him. His reply? “What about them? I have righted the wrongs. I have given you righteousness!” Romans Chapter 3: 22-24; “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit reminded me that Christ came to forgive and to heal. Not to point out our shortcomings and further our guilt. So then he asked me, “When are you going to accept my forgiveness? You have asked for it. I have offered it. But you do not accept it. You continue to allow yourself to feel guilt for your past sins. Sins that I have pardoned.”
As always, he was right. I asked for forgiveness; I accepted his love! But over and over I told myself that I was not worthy because of the immense shame and guilt I carried in my life. It caused me to again and again try to be good so that I could deserve his love. But I can’t always be good.
I let it go. It took time in prayer and time in the Word. I asked God to remove it. Remove this painful emotion. I understand, God, that you have redeemed me. In Christ, I am free from the burdens of guilt and shame. Galatians 5:1; “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Through Christ, I have been made free of the guilt and shame. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Yes, I am shameless......