Shameless: See Yourself Without Distortion by Anaelle Auguste

Shame

Shameless: See Yourself Without Distortion

Can you think of the most embarrassing moment of your life?

Even if you don’t express it, even if no one around you knows about it, you can still experience shame by reliving the experience.

What is Shame?

Though guilt and shame both pertain to wrongdoing, there’s quite a difference in the way we experience each of them. They have different outcomes. Oxford defines guilt as “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.” In contrast, shame is defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

Basically, guilt says you did something wrong.

It is a conflict between your conscience and value. When you feel guilty, you acknowledge the fact that your behavior was inappropriate. With guilt, you experience remorse; you regret what you said or did. That regret will propel you to act differently in the future, to repent, and you will attempt to make amends, repair the damage, and move on.

Now, look at the bold words in the definition of shame.

Shame doesn’t say you did something wrong, but “You did this, so you’re a terrible person.” Then the pain, humiliation, and distress follow. When someone feels humiliated, they think little of themselves; they perceive themselves as less than who they truly are. They see themselves through the lens of this one occurrence, whether they were the offender or the victim.

Often, shame makes you focus more on other people’s perception of you. You feel that your reputation is damaged, whereas guilt is more between you and your conscience whether others know about it or not. Even if others don’t know about your action, you worry about the way they would see or treat you if they knew when you experience shame. Because shame focuses more on others’ perceptions, moving forward can be challenging. After all, no matter what you do to make amends, others may still see you as that “terrible person,” at least that is the thought process.

The Origin and Consequences of Shame

I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression “I wanted to crawl under a rock” when someone recounts an embarrassing situation. That’s precisely what shame does; it encourages us to hide. Before I get into that, let’s go back to the origin of shame. Genesis 2:25 tells us that the man and his wife were both naked in the garden and felt no shame. They only experience shame after eating the forbidden fruit.

Their following actions were to cover themselves and hide from God.

See what the man said in Genesis 3:10, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” So, sin introduced shame and shame, fear. Adam was hiding from the one who gave him his breath, his source of life.

When we are driven by shame, we cover up and hide from ourselves; we live in our own shadow. We look in the mirror and can’t even recognize ourselves with all the cover-ups. Shame will tell you, “You are a terrible parent, friend, daughter, etc.” When you agree with shame, you will then see yourself unworthy of receiving love and undeserving of the relationships in your life.

People can experience such intense shame that they feel that they are damaged beyond repair. Many parents, especially fathers, leave their family due to shame. They think they are not good enough; they are worthless and not deserving of their family. Or they believe the family will be better off without them. Shame is so intense that it takes many to the grave way before their time. Many committed suicide because they struggle with shame. They thought, “The world will be better off without me.”

For a lot of others, shame is more subtle but just as destructive.

I’ve met people who will not go to the grocery store without a full-face glam, buy designer clothes and bags they can’t afford, won’t take a picture unless they know they’ll have time to edit their face and their shape. I had a friend who told me how she couldn’t wait to get her degree to work two jobs so she can afford every plastic surgery that there is.

There’s a difference between people who like makeup, who find it fun, and those who use it to hide. Others jump from relationship to relationship, trying to hide in their partners. The expensive clothes, makeup, relationships are fig leaves. They can cover the physical nakedness, but what about the nakedness of the soul?

Many remain in unhealthy/abusive relationships because shame tells them that’s what they deserve. “That must be punishment,” they say. If you made a mistake in your previous relationship, if you repented, God has forgiven you. Yes, our actions have consequences, but God does not keep us in the shackles of our past and keep reminding us of our missteps. That’s the enemy’s job to accuse us.

What Does God Say?

Instead, God extends an invitation to settle the matter once and for all, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Yes, God’s grace is for you too. Yes, you! You deserve His best for you through the redemption of Christ because you become his child, and He said if us, wicked know to give good things to our children, how much more would he not give us great gifts? As a matter of fact, Apostle Paul tells us that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32. Also, James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above.

Stop Pushing Love Away!

Some look at their past and say, “There’s no way he or she could have loved me; I am a teenage mom; I used to live a promiscuous life, etc. Who am I to deserve a man like him.” That’s not humility; that’s humiliation and shame.

Let me leave you with this; Isiah 54:4 says, “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” With shame came fear, but the Lord says not to be afraid because you will not be put to shame.

Which report will you believe?

It’s time to live shamelessly!!!

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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Is It Sinful? Intro Series by Michael Furlonger

Is It Sinful

In a new Bible Study series, author Michael Furlonger brings up a question: Is It Sinful? Maybe you’re asking, “What Is ‘It’ that is sinful? It’s a big question.

Jesus preached repentance (Matt. 4:17). John the Baptist preached repentance (Matt. 3:1-2). Peter preached repentance (Acts 2:38). Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinth, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…” (2 Cor. 7:10). And John tells us in 1 John 1:5-6, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”

So in this series, we aren’t just going to talk about sin, we are going to clarify what is a sin. If we are called to repent, should we not know from what we are repenting?

While this focuses on sin, let us always remember that God’s grace covers a “Multitude of Sin” (James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8).

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Are You Worthy by Ron Clark

Through most of life, we have all worried about what other people think of us. And as we grow up we begin to pay more attention to what we think of ourselves.  Are we tough, are we strong, or are we losers?  So often that opinion is shaped by what is happening in our lives, be it a good or bad event.

Are We Losers?

We may reach a point where we just think that we don’t deserve anything good to happen to us the rest of our lives because we can all look back at our lives and feel shame for our actions and worthlessness in our own eyes.  The sum total of our lives may be “LOSER,” but God has a different view point.  

God does hate the sin, but He loves the sinner.  King David wrote in Psalm 8:4, “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings…”  That means that we are spiritual beings similar to the heavenly beings.

God loves you so much that He sacrificed Jesus for you and He wants you to experience a time of revelation. There’s an old saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  God wants you to meet your teacher, the Holy Spirit.  In John 14:26 it is written, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” 

The Holy Spirit teaches:

S-Salvation by Grace

P-Peace

I-Inspiration by Divine Appointment

R-Righteousness by Jesus Sacrifice

I-Indwells The Saved

T-Testifies to the Divinity of Jesus Christ

If you are feeling low, just remember it’s God’s love for you that counts.  “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  (1 John 4:10)

The Cross and the blood of Jesus spells, “Winner.”

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The Wholeness Of God by Michael Furlonger

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With this coronavirus outbreak, most churches have been closed down. Fortunately, thanks to technology, we are still able to chat and share scripture. Last Sunday, I had the privilege of sharing with my small church group. The topic that I chose to share on, which I feel is very neglected, is the wholeness of God.

The reason this topic is so important is that we don’t know God. And what’s worse, I fear that we don’t want God. So I shared how there is one God of three persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And when we make little of one, often the (angry) Father God of the Old Testament, we make little of all.

First off, Who Is God?

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (Deut. 6:4-6)

“I (Jesus Christ) and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…” (John 14:26)

I’ve just connected the three persons of the God-head. God says, “I am one God” in Deuteronomy (Law). Jesus says, “I and the Father are one” in the gospels. And the Holy Spirit is a promise, Jesus says, that cannot work apart from God the Father or God the Son.

Early on, my faith was wrong.
Growing up, I was given this very inaccurate view of God. The mean God of the Old Testament with all of his rules and punishment. Jesus Christ says, “NO!!” and comes to earth to satisfy this big meany. And the Holy Spirit is kind of this random guy who helps us do party tricks.

For nearly a decade, I went to a church where your “spirituality” was all about emotions. People standing up to say, “I felt God say to me…” or “I felt the Holy Spirit…” And it left me as a spiritual orphan because I didn’t get these great emotional reactions.

If you have spiritual gifts, such as tongues or prophetics, I’m not criticizing. What I am saying is that if your “gifts” are contrary to the Word of God, you are in error.

If I pray, “God, I really want to cheat on my wife with my hair dresser,” I am in error. Imagine the next day, my wife gets informed that she has to leave for work for a month. Should I take this as a sign from above that God approves? No. This IS NOT God giving me permission. God’s Word is sovereign over all. God’s Word says, “You shall not commit adultery.” It’s confirmed.

The Father

Now, we are called to love God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength. So I must mention another part of the wholeness of God. That is that God is Just. As opposed to modern day’s perversion of justice in our courts and politics who show favouritism as they deem worthy, God does not. So, we too, must love justice.

Deuteronomy 16:19-20 says, “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Psalm 50:6 reads, “And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.”

This, my friend, is very good news. God will not change his rules in the middle of the game. So if God told the Israelites in the desert not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to covet and not to steal then…

Than we are commanded not to do such things now.

As God is leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Moses warns them in Deuteronomy 9:4, “After the Lord your God has driven the people out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’ No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you.”

So, we are seeing how God is calling on the people Israel, through the law, to be different than the other nations. And we are called to be different as well. Let us not be deceived by saying, “This doesn’t apply to us under the new covenant.” When tempted by Satan in the desert, Jesus quoted law.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:143-16)

I’m sharing all of this with you because I want us to know God. I asked a men’s group a couple weeks ago that if we didn’t have God to answer our prayers, would we want him at all? What I meant was that, so often, we fill our prayers with petitions and supplications: “Lord, I need this job, this car, this house, strengthen my marriage, strengthen my friendship, health, wealth, happiness, etc.” But if we only had God as our righteousness and eternal life, for which we were created, would we want him at all? Sadly, I fear the answer for far too many is no.

I feel like this question went right over people’s heads. So let me tell you a story.

You know, my dad wasn’t around very much growing up. It’s wasn’t like he was an absent father, it’s just that he would leave for work early in the morning and get home from work after I was asleep. I would try to stay awake to see him, but I couldn’t.

We didn’t have a whole lot of “extra” things. One year, he bought my brother, sister and I suitcases. No vacation. Just used suitcases from a swap-meet in town. Now, albeit, the small green suitcase was perfect for taking my Super Nintendo to friends’ houses. But that was by chance, not design.

Do you think that my dad didn’t love me? Of course, he did. We always had a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our back.

This is what I meant. If God didn’t give you every whim and desire, would you still want him. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul…”

The fact is that we are imperfect, and we do sin. In God’s holiness, he cannot allow us in his presence as we are. God’s holy law demanded a sacrifice. However, the Israelites thought it was them making the sacrifice, when, in fact, it was God making the sacrifice. Ever since the Garden of Eden, it has been a holy and loving God making the sacrifice to cover our shame and forgiving us our sins.

The Son

Hebrews 1:3 reads, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

As we know, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins. His death on the cross satisfied the law, the justice of God. However, sadly, I fear that the grace shown to us on the cross has been used as a liberty to sin. My friends, until we know the true freedom from sin, we may never know the true beauty of God.

Jesus is the “Exact representation of his being.” 

John 1:1 & 14 says that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

I’m trying to point out that God loves us. He always has loved us, always will love us but remember that God is also filled with justice. And he gave us law. Imagine if there were no speed limits on the side of the road, and everyday a police officer pulled you over for speeding. You would say, “This is unfair.”

  • First John 2:1 reads, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
  • First John 3:4 reads, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”
  • Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:7, “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.”

Jude 1:4 reads that there are “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

Remember that Jesus Christ brings us back to union with God the Father. Perhaps the greatest sermon of all time, The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5-7, covers the entirety of the law in 21 minutes. And, in John 17:3, while Jesus is praying says, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

The Holy Spirit

Now, the Holy Spirit, I believe has been completely disrepected. A lot of people want and do express external gifts of the Spirit, which I’m not discrediting. What I want to discuss is what Jesus warned about false prophets in Matthew 7:15-16, he says, “By their fruits you will recognize them.”

In John 16:8-11 Jesus said, “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

Galatians 5:22-25 gives a further understanding of the “fruits” of the Holy Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galations 5:22-25)

Galatians 5:23 says, “Against such things there is no law.”

Do you see what Apostle Paul just did? He took us back to Moses in Deuteronomy. He is saying that there is no law telling us not to be loving, not to be joyful, not to be kind, to be good, gentle and so on. People love to say that they are filled with the Holy Spirit, but if you are purposefully living in sin, you are living in contradiction to the Spirit.

When King David was confronted by Nathan the prophet for sleeping with Bathsheba and killing her husband to hide his disgrace, he wrote Psalm 51. In verse 11, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” He recognizes that something was missing because he didn’t recognize his sin. He was missing the discernment of the Holy Spirit.

In Romans 14:17, it says, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…”

I’m not trying to disregard any of the spiritual gifts that people have. I just want to encourage us to seek out the holiness of God. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…” They will testify to the great things they have done in the name of Jesus, but in the end, Jesus will say, “I never knew you.”

Be encouraged

I encourage us to seek out God through His Word. Let’s not feel condemned because we lack a constant emotional reaction. Let’s pray for a filling of the Holy Spirit to give us knowledge to read the law.

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