The Christian Atheist 3
When You Believe in God but Are Ashamed of Your Past
“When we become consumed with shame about decisions and actions (in our past), belief in God can never evolve into a loving relationship…I’ve discovered that many people are dying slowly in a secret tomb of shame” (49).
Shame locks you up in a prison.
Personally, I don’t struggle with shame. I may struggle with regret, but not real shame.
However, shame is a painfully oppressive entity in the lives of many people.
According to Groeschel, the cycle of shame usually goes like this.
1. Something bad happens
2. This act morphs into an identity – The action becomes not just something we did, but who we are.
3. It traps us and we feel as if we can never recover. “Our past pain becomes our present identity.”
Truth: We are NOT our past sins.
Steps to overcome shame:
1. Accept that which can’t be changed.
2. Repent and confess (to God and to others)
* At this point, remember and meditate on these words:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your x abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Psalm 51:1-2
3. Remember ~ The past has passed!
4. Embrace the God who can change our future!
5. Remind yourself ~ You are a new creation!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is j a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
6. God can and will use our past for good!
Shame is a powerfully evil and binding force Satan uses to keep us from embracing our true identities in Christ.
Guilt is not the same as shame. As long as there is sin on this earth, guilt will be present. We must not make ourselves totally devoid of feeling guilt, because this is a tool we use to review and remove sin from our lives. Shame is greater. It binds. It doesn’t let go. It whispers in your ear: “You are what you’ve done. You are a terrible person. You don’t deserve love.”
That, my friends, is a lie.
May you experience the full identity in Christ. Repent, confess your past sin, and move on! Shame pales in comparison to the name of Jesus! May you let Christ unlock the chains of your past and free you from your shame!