“The more guilt and shame that we have buried within ourselves, the more compelled we feel to seek relief through sin.” ― Brennan Manning
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
~ Isaiah, oracle of Jesus, in Isaiah 61
Oh beloved, it is true.
There is something about us that is nearly as bad as our sin. We are, each of us, once made alive in Him, terribly sensitive to our failure(s). And some of this is good. But some of this is terribly bad for us.
Now, before any of you brothers go off and think that i am saying otherwise, read this first. Sin is a terrible idea. The very wrath of G_d is revealed against it, for those who choose to stay in it. But, even here, the truth of the problem presents itself.
However, G_d is different than us. Utterly. Completely.
His ways are so much higher than our ways as to put our ways of thinking, if you will pardon the pun, to shame. So yes, the wrath of G_d is revealed against our sin. But not because He is angry about some sort of misbehavior. No, G_d sets about destroying anything, anything at all that will keep us away from Him.
He has already destroyed death. He has already set us free. He has already brought comfort to our mourning. He has already poured the Oil of His Very Own Spirit out onto us, and worked it into our formerly dead soul. He has crowned us with the wreathes of His own victory on our behalf. He has already planted us within Himself that we might bear much fruit.
So, His wrath is something different. His wrath is, in this life, the rage a Father would rightly feel against those things that will bring hurt to His child. His wrath is that which would destroy the things that destroy us. And His wrath, on That Terrible Day, will be His righteous bewilderment at our rejection of His Great Love.
In a similar way, shame is a mindset that is nearly as bad as how short-sightedly we view G_d’s wrath. It is an approach that comes straight out of the lowlands of our flesh. And shame over our sin (as opposed to a robust rejection of our old man, and his ways), is only bound to take us right back into more falling short of His glory.
Can we see it?
Shame is a fleshly reaction to sin. Shame is the irredeemable reaction to the failure of our irredeemable flesh. And, since it is fallen, the flesh is not going to give us a good answer about how to handle our sin. Rather, flesh will always try to add a little more effort. And, when that always fails (it will ALWAYS FAIL), will default over to self comfort…
And further, since flesh is lazy, it will often take us right back into the behavior over which we originally had the sense of shame. How crazy is this? And you, dear reader, may think this fool of a writer is missing it. But, take a moment and consider: How has shame ever truly helped you (or me) move beyond sin in our own lives?
So, yes: Sin is a terrible idea. Sin separates us from G_d. Sin eats away at our peace. Sin pulls us away from our true identity. But, the answer is not a fleshly and shameful response to our flesh and its shameful behavior.
Rather, the response must be from a much higher place – the place of The Spirit – where we are already one with Him. For, in the spirit, we have begun to know just who we are. And, in knowing that we are already planted by Him, in fields that will bear eternal fruit, we have no need for feeling far away and hiding in our shame. Nor do we have to listen to shame’s idiotic cries for us to try and bring the same destructive “comfort” to ourselves, that shamed us in the first place.
Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to face your failures the right way: the way of The Spirit.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: “Shame is a soul eating emotion.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 6:40