We live in a culture of shame.
Shame permeates every interaction and is corrosive to the fabric of our society.
We are so desperate to find someone ‘worse’ than the rest of us so the massive load of shame doesn’t fall on us - so we JUMP on anyone who says or does anything ‘awful’ and drop the hammer of all our collective shame on them. Then we talk in desperate tones trying to make sure everyone knows we are of a different sort than ‘that’ person.
But we are not…
So our very fear of our culture’s collective shame causes us to be even more aggressive at trying to shove it on ‘others’.
It’s like a game of ‘hot potato’ that has turned vicious + deadly.
Ironically - When Jesus was baptized for the ‘repentance of sin’ - He was actually identifying with the collective shame of his culture (of which he alone was innocent) and while everyone else was running away, Jesus stepped forward, directly under the load of shame + and self-identified with the worst. (AS evidenced by his entourage of sinners, tax collectors, outsider, outcasts, women, the sick, the poor, the unclean, etc.)
To follow Jesus we must leave the tactics of shame behind and walk the narrow road of LOVE.
LOVE doesn’t use Shame - LOVE overcomes shame.
LOVE calls us out of hiding and shame.
I grew up hearing that people needed to know how bad they are, before they can choose God - this is a terrible lie.
God is beautiful - God is LOVE. His beauty + love are the most powerful forces drawing us to Him. We are drawn to Him because He is the hunch we have that more is going on than the ugliness that is so easy to see all around.
God doesn’t use fear + threats to scare us into obedience
but love + beauty to call us home…
HIS beauty + love remind us how beautiful + loved that WE already are.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”
1st John 4:16- 19