I read a great article the other day regarding Christ followers. The writer was describing our world in which we live as a Good Friday world; a world of death and betrayal, a world of suffering and shame. He went on to ask the question, “How is it possible to live in such a world?” The answer, “We are Easter people!” Easter people live with hope. We know that Friday brings sorrow and pain, but we can hold on because Sunday’s coming!
Are you living like an Easter person? Am I? Do we live with hope and joy, in spite of our difficult circumstances? None of us could, if it weren’t for Jesus’ journey to the cross and the resurrection. Jesus bore the sorrow and shame for us, so we don’t have to.
Are you feeling shame today? I have been reading a book by Craig Nakken. It is a secular book on addiction, so his worldview is not coming from scripture but I think he makes an interesting contrast between shame and guilt. In his book, “The Addictive Personality” he states, “With shame, there is no forgiveness, and nothing is ever forgotten.” With shame, there is no avenue for healing and recovery. But what we should experience is guilt. Guilt means we have committed an action that was wrong, but we can repent, correct the mistake and be forgiven.
So let me restate my question, “Are you feeling shame today, or guilt?” As Christ followers we experience guilt that drives us to repentance. That is a good thing. That is the Holy Spirit moving in our lives to confess, repent and find wholeness and health. But if we choose to live in our shame, we will never find healing, because we will never feel worthy enough to confess and repent. We are choosing to live in our sin.
I leave you with the lyrics from Matthew West’s song, “Only Grace.”
There is no guilt here, there is no shame,No pointing fingers, there is no blame.What happened yesterday has disappeared.The dirt has washed away, and now it’s clear. There’s only grace, there’s only love,There’s only mercy, and believe me, it’s enough.Your sins are gone without a trace;And there’s nothing left now, there’s only grace.