Tag Archives: Shame

SMGN guest post by Christopher Probert

ChrisChristopher is a friend to and encourager of SoMuchGoodNews. He resides in the UK, is husband to Helen, and dad to Michael and Daniel. A vet by profession, Chris enjoys the outdoors and revels in the Gospel.

He recently shared these thoughts. Enjoy!


What is true happiness? When are you truly happy? And when are you least happy? I believe happiness is freedom from guilt and shame.

Young children are happier than adults, because they are carefree and have no sense of shame and little sense of regret. Have you seen the little kid playing and running stark naked, laughing all the way. I think that deep down we all want to be like that kid.

To do so would mean getting rid of guilt and shame. I see only two conclusions that a logical mind can reach when considering the solution to guilt and shame. One is to remove the source of it by abolishing rules, laws and God; thereby freeing ourselves from ever contravening anything. Everything becomes relative. No right or wrong. No good or bad. Just innumerable shades of grey. No one to answer to. No responsibility. Become a free agent. Encourage free thought. Don’t allow anyone to judge you. A very popular course taken by many.

However, even in a secular world, it’s clear that there are some rules. And the most secular will often be the most vocal when seeking justice or reparations for wrongs done to them. We all want the rules to apply to everyone else! And then there’s the nagging thought, deep down that even the staunchest atheist has. That twinkling doubt: “What if there really is a God?” So some will turn to religion, to try and answer that doubt. However, religion makes a very poor substitute for the true Good News. Religion is not Good News at all. And, instead of relieving it, it adds to our sense of guilt and shame. Thus many reject religion, having found that rather than solve the problem, it is compounded and they become even more unhappy.

Some might believe that those are the only choices before us. A choice between Atheism and Religion. If those were the only options then I too would choose Atheism to live free from guilt and shame. But, I have some really Good News. A path to true and lasting happiness. This is the only other logical conclusion. To receive God’s perfect sacrifice (the ultimate punishment suffered by Jesus on the cross – the death penalty) as full payment for all of our transgressions in perpetuity. Past, present and future. An incredible exchange that’s almost too good to be true. All our sin for all His Righteousness. Not by our own efforts, but by His. When received, the result is freedom from condemnation, guilt and shame. Freedom to live within the rules, and not fear the consequences when we don’t. Ultimate security and hope. True happiness.

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Living life well

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The Gospel ushers us into condemnation-free living. In right-standing with God, and the rich promises of Scripture ours, there is every reason for living life well. These few modern-day parables will help establish you in the good of the New Covenant. It is God’s will for you to live there with confidence and ease.

Life is walking the high-wire, with Christ our safety net. We might slip and fall in the day-to-day, but we remain safely suspended in the lofty context of His victory. When we lose our footing, there is no inevitable devastating plunge to destruction. All there is to do is regain our equilibrium and get walking again. Consequently, we walk the tightrope confidently, without anxiety or fear, no matter how tetchy things might get on a wind-buffeted high-wire from time to time.

Life is an innings at the crease with an umpire who will never give us out. The bales scatter; we’re not out. Caught playing the shot; not out. Plumb LBW; a shake of the head from the umpire. We can’t even be run out. That’s because every ball that life or the devil bowls at us in the cricket game of life has been rendered a no-ball by the cross. Every one remains a scoring opportunity, but none can take our wicket.

Life is a ride on an up-escalator. The inexorable upward momentum of the life of Christ makes it well-nigh impossible for us to lose ground. Serious regression takes concerted, sustained effort, for He wills and works for our salvation at all times. We all stumble from time to time, but as we do, the escalator of His loving-kindness continues to carry us into our preferable future. In all things, He works for our good, even if the things themselves are not of Him, and not good. We can rest in Christ and enjoy the blessings and privileges that are ours by unmerited favour.

Ours is the privileged life of the adopted child. The fact is that we are His four times over – He created us; He redeemed (purchased) us; We are born again of Him; and He adopted us. The adoption aspect of it all was transacted by grace in the moment of faith, and it means that we and all of our stuff are His! We have a new name, and it’s His. And so, on the giant school playground of life on earth, who’s your Daddy? No need to submit to the bullies of anxiety, fear, guilt, condemnation and shame, and no need to inflict them on others. Rather, we live secure in the family to which we’ve been added – the community of Father, Son, Holy Spirit and saints.

I want to live for Jesus. I want to live life well. You do too, or else you wouldn’t bother reading this kind of post. Only those who have received the gift of His perfect righteousness can do that, because everything else falls short. But in Christ, that which we do in response to His love, is done in partnership with His perfection and under its banner. The result is ordinary men and women living lives to the glory of God, and doing so in the mundane of the daily, and at times doing extraordinary exploits.

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Condemnation-free living

      Some days are better than others. Today is one of those others.

Nothing cataclysmic mind you. But there are some relationships that would have been a little less tender right now had I been a little less reactive. And so much more could have been accomplished had I been a little better organised and a little more focussed. Time for some recalibration!

This is not the first day that I’ve had like this, and it will sadly not be the last. Nothing extraordinary there. But what is extraordinary is our consolation in Christ at times like these. My performance is variable. Jesus never changes. And the Good News is that my right standing with God is based on His performance and not my own. My righteousness is a constant because it’s an untarnishable gift. I’m not even sure if untarnishable is a word, but reminding myself (on the good authority of Scripture) that I’m in fellowship with God and fully acceptable to Him is the game-changer on days like these.

Believing quickly makes it experientially true. Thinking on these things is always breathtaking in its effect. The downers of guilt and shame are dispelled by the influx of peace and joy. Darkness yields to light, death yields to life, despair yields to hope, and muttering is replaced by gratitude and praise. A mood swing in the right direction is a lovely thing!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). There is no better way to live! Thank you Jesus!!

 

 

 

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