Posted by: forfreedomalone | 22/07/2016

Oh what a muddle!

Some terms defined.
GUILT…… awareness of having transgressed a rule or standard of behaviour.
Guilt is felt when one actually does, or does not, do something.
If I knock over a glass of wine and stain my friend’s dress, I should feel guilt as I am guilty.
If I am hurtful in what I say to my spouse I should feel guilty as I have transgressed the rule of love.
If I see a friend in need and do nothing to reach out to them or to help I should feel guilty as I have been guilty, by omission, of transgressing love.
Guilt points us to what it was we did, or omited to do, and how to put things right.
SHAME……..a personal, private sense of being less than one should be. Shame is not something which is action dependant, like guilt, but is constant.
Shame is about one’s being, not one’s doing.
Guilt tells you what you did was wrong, shame tells you, YOU are wrong. It leave a person feeling powerless, inferior and incompetent and vulnerable.
Shame is not interested in setting right wrongs in relationships with others, it is only interested in destroying the one who feels it.
COMDEMNATION………..a sense of impending punishment.
Condemnation is more a legal term than a psychological one. A judge condems a prisoner to X number of years in gaol or hanging or whatever punishment is being meted out.
A person who feels condemned is expecting punishment as a result of either what he has done or who he is.
These emotions are all very closely linked.
If I have offended my friend I should feel guilty, this tells me I offended and I need to put things right.
If, however, I am constantly being told I have transgressed one rule or another guilt metamorphoses into shame.
I now feel that I, rather than my behaviour, is the problem.
Both guilt and shame can lead to a feeling of fear of punishment. If we are told that there is some power which can, and will, rain down retribition upon us, we will live in dread of the impending punishment.
As a result of people no longer understanding what words really mean, many Christians are rejecting the concept that guilt is actually healty. They think that guilt and shame are the same thing.
This leads to people not being willing to take responsibility for their behaviour and they can end up living licentiously.
If we are walking in the Spirit, there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus. If we are walking according to the flesh there is. Most often it comes in the guise of self- condemnation.
When we walk by the Spirit he tells us “That was wrong, that was sin”. When we are walking by the Spirit we can at once recognise He is right, do what we can to correct it and get on with our lives.
We know that all condemnation was poured out on Jesus and, for us in the Spirit, there is no more to come.
When we are walking according the flesh we are never good enough, we are always expecting punishment and we have fallen from grace.
BUT…….what freedom to recognise these facts! We are now in possession of the information we need. Ooops, I’m in the wrong place, let’s get back where I should be.
Guilt is normal and healthy, shame is not.
Condemnation is an indication of where we are in the spirit/flesh walk.
All of them are sign posts from God to let us know where we are.
If you feel guilty, set right what you feel guilty about.
If you are feeling shame filled….go to God.
Your inner voice will say “I can’t, I’m not good enough”, you’re right, you’re not. That’s why you have to go. In fact, people who are good enough, can’t get in. He only has ears for those who are not good enough and know it.
He wants to remove your shame and replace it with praise….and a double portion too boot! (Isa 61)
If you are expecting punishment, look at Jesus. He is your Atonement goat. He made things right between you and God, so that expectation of punishment has no place in you……when you walk in the Spirit. If you have left that place, return.
There is no shame or punishment for us when we wander off the path and end up in a mess; just a loving shepherd who seeks us and brings us back, if we are only willing to come.
He will fetch back us muddy, smelly, rebelious sheep as often as is necessary. There are no limits on his love.

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