Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Me No Shame On!"

I don't know exactly how old he was, my brother Kim, maybe two, and I couldn't have been four yet. I do, though, remember the conversation clearly and distinctly, at least a brief part of it. It is indelibly imprinted in my mind's eye.

Kim was doing something he wasn't supposed to and I am sure our mother had told him several times to "STOP IT!" Until she finally shook her finger at him and said, "Shame on you!" To which Kim, defiantly and indignantly responded, "Me no shame on!"

"Me no shame on!" has become a battle cry of sorts.

The conversation took place this past week while I vacationed with friends at the beach. Three of us are on a "healing journey." We are committed to living Christ honoring lives free from the "baggage" of our pasts, whatever the cost. And that means dealing with issues of shame that have the potential to paralyze, demoralize and cripple. Shame has crippled our lives in many ways; especially in how we perceive ourselves and others. We are determined to be free of it!

Last October I was eating lunch with friends after church when a mother with a couple of boys in tow passed our table. She had her hand on her youngest son's shoulder as she propelled him out of the restaurant and, just as they passed our table, we heard her say, "You, young man, are going to confession very soon!" I know my mouth dropped open and probably stayed that way for several seconds as I tried to absorb such a comment. (It still baffles me even now!)

My thoughts and comments, at that moment, were, "That poor kid is going to grow up resenting God and his mother. He is going to be one very wounded young man!" He is just as likely to run away from "the church" and his condemning mother and the God he most likely perceives to be "the big man upstairs with the great big stick looking for someone to beat up and punish!" (I can't think of that boy without a pang of grief and sorrow! I wonder if he will ever understand my Father who is "faithful and just" and slow to anger.)

Oh yes, of course, there is a place for confession and repentance, without a doubt. The two are necessary. In fact, they are essential! They are the very essence of true freedom! But they come clothed in grace and mercy. They are ushered in by the realization of the lavish and extravagant love of Father God. They are not the legalistic shame brought on by misunderstood concepts, or doctrines of men, or the enemy of our souls or our own wounded parents, for that matter!

The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:10 "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

I am sure we would all benefit greatly from a good dose of "godly sorrow" but let's refuse to receive the shame that hinders emotional and spiritual well being. I will be pondering this one for a while and daily learning to recognize one from the other; “Is this godly sorrow or enemy inflicted shame?” And, when the enemy points his finger in my face with accusations, I will respond with childlike faith... "Me no shame on!"

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