Tag Archives: guilt

Feeling Uncomfortable in Church?

Do you ever feel like running for the door when the pastor starts preaching? This is a normal response. No offense pastors, but sometimes your teaching makes me want to cover my ears and stuff my face in a pillow. It’s not that your message is bad or poorly delivered. It’s quite the opposite. Your message speaks such truth into my conscience that I feel guilty and sometimes ashamed. I realize, sometimes for the first time, how much I have wronged God.

Almost every morning I put on glasses. As I’ve gotten older I’ve decided contacts really aren’t worth the two seconds it takes to put them in my eyes and certainly not worth the money most of the time. In my mad rush to get out the door, I often don’t properly clean my glasses, at least not in the way my dad recently instructed me to go about cleaning them. Before leaving the house the lenses seem perfectly clean. I rush out the door and as soon as the lenses catch a glimpse of sunlight I can see all the blemishes, all the impurities.

The same happens in church. Out in the real world of distraction we don’t notice the blemishes of sin until we sit down without distraction and take in the truth and examine our sin. Sin is an ugly thing. Like the smudges on my glasses it can blur the way we see things.

Fortunately we can take time to examine ourselves daily, reflect on where we have failed, and most importantly, revel in the fact that we are forgiven and reconciled. To examine ourselves is to shine the light of God’s word, His truths on our lives and let Him reveal where we have mis-stepped. This is not to cause shame, but to release the guilt through repentance.

To see the blemishes is to see the light, for in the darkness neither blemish nor beauty is seen. Would you rather live without seeing at all or live with seeing what can be made pure through the blood of Jesus?

Advertisements

Listening to Your Moral Meter

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.                                                                               – Philippians 4:8

The world can be full of juicy gossip. Sometimes our everyday lives can become so routine that our mouth almost waters at the sound of a scandalous story.

For lent I have given up all but one hour of television a weeknight, a task I thought I would find difficult, but have found rest and relaxation as well as purpose in other things. Most nights I don’t even turn on the TV. The one show I do watch is Nashville. I know it is not the most wholesome show to watch, but I just love the juiciness of it after a day in my seemingly mundane life. As the clock approaches 10 p.m. I start thinking, ‘Who will break up with who this week? Will Scarlet finally go too far with her prescription drug addiction?’ I become almost in a trance while watching. In considering whether I should give up this show I tried to justify keeping it as my one guilty pleasure. ‘I deserve it. After all, I’ve given up so much already.’ In fact, just last night I turned on the TV to realize it was a rerun. I tell you, I almost went into the shaky withdrawals. I started texting my boyfriend, “How can this be? Nashville is a rerun! What will I do with my time?!?”

What seemed like a harmless TV show has turned me into a monster on the hunt for juicy gossip. My ears perk up each time I see that there might be some coming my way. Recently I was tempted to encourage some gossip, and I did. Later I was caught in the act of encouraging gossip. It did not feel good! My mind was consumed with guilt and fear of what that person might have thought about me now. Was it that person’s judgment that was causing me to fret? No, it was my own guilty conscious. I not only had to go to God in repentance with my tail figuratively between my legs, but I had to go back to the person who caught me and apologize to them and let them know I knew what I did was wrong and would correct my actions. Fortunately the person was very gracious and forgiving, but perhaps that won’t be the case next time. I must also go back to the person who I gossiped with and let them know it was wrong and apologize for playing a part in it.

When we have to justify our actions we should recognize the prompting of the Holy Spirit that we are trying to talk our way out of repentance. If you are feeling uncomfortable with something you have done you might want to examine whether it is in alignment with God’s Word. If not, turn from that sin, admit it was wrong to God and those effected by your sin. Once you have done this you shouldn’t feel guilt or continue to fret because Jesus’ blood has already washed you clean.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

                                   -Matthew 6:9-13

If you enjoyed what you read please like the post on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, email this post, comment, etc.

Purifier

Shame and guilt. Most likely, we have all experienced it. There is such thing as good shame and guilt, the kind that tells us not to do something that is bad for us, a conscience, if you will. And while good shame exists, I’m going to address the ugly shame and guilt that can linger for years if not treated by our Purifier.

This evening as I ran my bath I thought about purity. When I think of the word I think of something new, something just out of the packaging, unmarred, clean, fresh, a car with that new car smell. Those things are pure. While we are able to wash most things and bring them almost back to their pure status, do we ever consider purifying ourselves? Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the pain of our guilt and shame that we forget there is a way to not only bring ourselves almost back to pure status, but all the way back to pure status. We are not like the pure white snow that gets trampled and driven on, never to be clean again.

In Marilyn Hontz’s book Shame Lifter she describes toxic shame and how we can purify ourselves.

Shame likes to cover God’s truth with a wet, heavy blanket. It threatens to snuff out life. How was I going to throw back that wet, suffucating blanket? Only by believing and applying God’s truth.

In 1 John 1:9 apostle John writes “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It doesn’t say that he will think about forgiving us or he will hold a grudge against us. No. It says he will forgive us. His forgiveness is guaranteed. To feel toxic shame is to let the guilt of wrongdoing penetrate into your identity. Hontz describes it as letting the external become part of the internal. And as she said in the above quote, we can only be freed by believing and applying God’s truth.

In his book Mr. Jones Meet the Master the late Peter Marshall a Scottish preacher and former chaplain of the United States Senate references this quote from The Historic Jesus: Facts or Fancies:

Christ has suffered for our sins. He has paid the penalty for us, so that there is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. He has, with His own blood, written “Paid” across the ledgers of Heaven.

Jesus’ blood shed for the atonement of our sins is more than enough to cleanse us of our wrongdoing, no matter how big or how little. To hold onto toxic shame is to deny this fact.

To get you started freeing yourself from toxic shame listen to the promise in this song by Big Daddy Weave and meditate on the truth it tells.

On Earth Peace, Goodwill Toward Men

Tonight I attended Christmas Eve service with my family. As with any such service the story of the first Christmas was told from scripture. Luke 2:13-14 was read, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” I pondered this scripture throughout the service.
First, what are heavenly hosts? According to Wikipedia “heavenly hosts” are a large army of good angels. This makes sense because right before the verses above Scripture describes an angel giving the message of the King’s birth to the shepherds. After the angel had finished the heavenly hosts joined the angel to praise the Lord.
The second point I pondered was why were they saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men?” Of all the things they could say, why was this what they chose to say, that for which they praised God? Tonight’s sermon highlighted the message the angel brought, “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Of course the newborn King would bring good tidings of great joy. After all, He is our Savior, our Messiah, our Immanuel (God with us). As I think about the praise of the heavenly hosts I can see why they praise God for the King he sent; why they speak of the peace that will come over all the earth with the presence of this new King, for Jesus is the provider of peace that passes all understanding. But why do the heavenly hosts say, “goodwill toward men.” Perhaps the reason I didn’t understand is because I didn’t fully understand the definition of “goodwill.” Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “goodwill” as “a kindly feeling of approval and support : benevolent interest or concern.” God sent His son to be born fully human and fully God because he had a genuine interest and concern for His people. He was willing to give Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
Because of these verses I have examined a bit of God’s character a little more deeply than before. He is a compassionate and generous giver of love, peace, grace, and mercy, and He NEVER desires for us to hold onto guilt and shame. Those things are from Satan and from our own misunderstanding. If he wanted us to struggle with guilt and shame He would have never sent his precious son. If there is a bit of guilt or shame, residue from past sins, and you have genuinely confessed and repented, remember that to deny His forgiveness is to say His sacrifice is not enough. Let the healing begin today because Christmas is about the peace and goodwill God provides which came in the form of a baby King.