Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shame vs. Guilt

Ok.  Have you ever met someone who is buried in their own sin?  Have you ever noticed how angry they are?  I think I know why.

There are two ideas that need to be explained.  First is guilt.  Guilt is a legal term.  It means that there is a law and it has been broken.  Peopling dealing with guilt can take one of two paths.  The first is to move the line.  They tell themselves that all though what they did violates the law of God, well God just didn't understand their particular situation.  God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  His laws in unchangeable.  If it was true before, then it is true today.  However, many people are able to at least outwardly able to fool themselves that they are not guilt.  They can so convince themselves, that they can walk boldly into their sin, and feel no real guilt.  The right way to handle guilt is to take it to God.  In his son Jesus we have been declared not guilty.  Our debt has been paid and we no longer carry the label of being guilty.  Jesus has taken our guilt and replaced with his righteousness.

The other thing that we need to talk about is shame.  Shame is a heart attitude.  When who you are on the outside does not match your own internal standards, then we feel shame.  God has etched his law into the hearts of men.  You can not escape it.  Even the ungodly have this law written in their heart.  There is a universal sense of right and wrong that we all share.  No matter how much rationalizing you do you can not escape the shame.  When the lights go out and you are alone with ourselves the shame will begin to bombard you.  When someone is carrying shame it is very obvious to those around them.  Shameful people many times are angry people.  They will spend every waking moment trying to convince you that their actions are just.  In truth, they are trying to convince that tiny voice from within that is crying out to them.  They believe that if they can just convince everyone that they are right, then that voice inside them will quiet down.  They will blame their shame on everyone, but themselves.  In their minds they feel shame because you have yet to accept them.  They feel shame because of your judgement on their actions.  The truth is that they will never be able to clear away the shame.  That shame is a gift from God.  God is trying to call them to repentance.  They are angry with God, that he just doesn't see things their way.  It is a fool's errand to try to clear your heart of shame apart from God.  God doesn't want us to automatically match our outward behavior to that inner self.  He wants us to be in a continual move toward Christlikeness.  Theologians call this sanctification.  Christ is not only our Savior, but he is also our Sanctifier!  He didn't bring us to the cross to continue in ungodliness.  He has broken the bonds of sin, and he desires to move us closer to his heart.  God doesn't want to take all the joy out of your life.  If you are doing something that is bringing you temporal happiness, then he is taking that because he is cruel.  He is taking it to replace it with something that will last.  He has something so much better for you.  Stop settling for second best.  He has something that you can not even understand to replace those temporal pleasures with.  All you need to do is to trust him, and to seek his face.  He will turn your world upside down, but in a good way.  He will turn your life upside down in a perfect way.  As you move closer to the heart of Christ that inner voice will begin to quiet down, because your outward behavior will begin to match the law of God that he has etched into your heart.

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