I’ve been reading a lot about the old testament laws that God had with the Israelites. There’s so much on sacrifices and ceremonial laws. And it feels so harsh and tedious, but the reason behind these was that his people had been separated from him and God wanted his people back. They cried out to him, and He drew near, and keeping these laws was the only way to reconcile the people to him. They couldn’t manage to be perfect, but he gave all the cleansing and sacrifice rituals so that they would not be left there in their sin, but so that God could be with them.
God is all about reconciled relationships, and he is just, but he has a desperate desire to be in relationship with us, so he’s very much in the habit of creating ways to do that. of course the ultimate fulfillment of that plan was in Jesus. And this is why:
Hebrews 10:15-18 ESV
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.Hebrews 10:15-18 (ESV)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.Romans 8:1 (ESV)
So then let’s talk about Guilt and Shame. Guilt says “Man I did something wrong, I need to go fix it/seek forgiveness/maybe do better next time.” This is a good thing because it’s bringing us back to God. God wants to be done and over it and in right relationship. He doesn’t sulk or brood. Shame says “Man I messed up. I’m a sucky person. I shouldn’t be in relationship because I obviously am just going to mess it up. Who would want to be with me?”. What’s wrong with this second statement? It drives us away from relationship with both God and people. God created us to be loved, so it really doesn’t matter if you deserve it or not. You need it.
Now, the cure is not just positive self-talk. That’s an amazing thing, but merely believing that you are a better person is a very small part of the answer. When a person just tries to deserve it and hold themselves up to that high standard, they have the same problem as the person in shame, which is, “I’m only a worthwhile person if I can live up to X Standard”. The person on the high horse, and the one who says “I’m Trash” have the same issue.
–Uncle Iroh, Avatar: The Last Airbender
“Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source. True humility is the only antidote to shame.”
God doesn’t like pride because it hampers relationship. He doesn’t like shame for the same reason. He is all about living in freedom and getting right ASAP.
Is anyone willing to share a story of a time they felt ashamed?
How did that impact relationship?
Are there other things besides behavior that make people feel ashamed?