Archives for: June 2015


Permalink 07:57:44 am, Step(s): 08 Make a list..., 460 words   English (US)

Baking Soda & Acidic Shame

It seems to me that there are at least two ways to deal with guilt and shame. The most common method seems to be to just stuff it -- pretend that it never happened. This doesn't seem to work to well, because in our heart of hearts, we know that it did happen, and it never really goes away. There seems to be some evidence that a result of stuffing it is lot like acid, eroding us from the inside out -- emotionally and sometimes even physically. Some claim that there are a number of debilitating diseases largely caused by trying to forget and to conceal the garbage in our lives.

Fortunately, there is a better way. We know that if we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9). But, we also have another shame-reducing tool, called "amends". As we become willing to make amends to those whom we have harmed, we begin to expel more of that acidic shame from our emotional and physical being.

Have you ever used baking soda and water to clean up battery acid? If so, you've seen the rather violent reaction between those two chemicals. And, you've seen the results -- cleaned battery terminals. It is much the same as we become willing to make amends. It can be a violently painful experience, but the result is the neutralization of the acidic shame that we had been harboring. Of course this does not change our history. The deed was still done, but now it becomes easier to forgive ourselves and not let the past control our present and future.

Once I have confessed my sin to God and have done what I can to make amends with those I've harmed, I have no reason to carry guilt and shame any longer. By Jesus' death on that old rugged cross, the penalty was paid for my sin. By that amazing gift He cleanses me of guilt. Then by following Christ's direction in Matthew 5:23,24, I am also cleansed of shame.

If, after that, I still feel shamed, I know that an enemy is tempting me to hold that shame and I must surrender that feeling to God. He is faithful and just to deliver me from even that :-).

"So, if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God" (Matthew 5:23,24). There are some, however, that will not reconcile with you. In that case, "do all that you can to live in peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all." (Step 8)


Permalink 07:45:13 am, Step(s): 07 Purification, 442 words   English (US)

Create in me a clean heart

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin... Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:1-10).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

"Christ is the source of every right impulse.
He is the only one that can implant in the heart
enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity,
every conviction of our own sinfulness,
is an evidence that His Spirit is moving upon our hearts."
(Steps to Christ, 26)

When I'm entirely ready to have God remove my character defects, it's a natural next-step to ask Him to do it. However, the way He does that is sometimes unexpected and often painful. My tendency is to want God to sprinkle some "pixy dust" on me and POOF, I'm all better! But it hasn't happened to me yet :-) What has happened is according to Hebrews 12:5-11. God has given (and still gives) me consequences for my bad choices. Forgiveness (in my case) seldom removes all the consequences. And I have some doubt that my character would actually be changed much if all consequences were removed. In my estimation, some of the ingredients of character transformation are: consequences, accountability, right choices (strong hard battles with self), and complete reliance upon God for my strength.

... My child,[b] don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." (Step 7)


Permalink 07:50:23 am, Step(s): 06 Repentance, 215 words   English (US)


Merriam-Webster defines repentance:
1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life.
2 a: to feel regret or contrition. b: to change one's mind.

Repentance can be hard because change is hard. We get comfortable with the way we do things -- the way we live. But, after discovering that some of the ways we've been living are not as it should be, God calls us to repentance -- a willingness to let go of those destructive behaviors, so that God can remove them from our lives.

The apostle Paul said, "... Pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have... For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death." (2 Corinthians 7:9,10)

Jesus says,"... Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners" (Mark 2:17). "... There is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!" (Luke 15:7)

"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." (Step 6)


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