Last Sunday I spoke about an aspect of God’s love that I have never spoken about before. Most believers understand that God loves them. They can quote the Bible verses. But many believers are never able to receive God’s love because they don’t think they deserve it. In their mind, God’s love is for people who have cleaned up their act.
But there’s an inherent problem to this kind of thinking: you can’t clean up your act without God’s love. If you insist on becoming a better person so God can love you, that “carrot” will always be in front of you. You’ll never get there. You’ve consigned yourself to your own personal “hell,” but you don’t even know what you’ve done because you think you know all about God’s love.
Yes, you KNOW about it. You haven’t RECEIVED it. You need to let the knowledge drop from your head to your heart and bring the healing that’s needed.
The issue is: we receive God’s love on our good days…when we are doing well. But we don’t receive God’s love when we need it the most…when we screw up and fail miserably. We resist the invasion of God’s love because we don’t think God wants to/ or is able to come into our unholy place.
You’ve consigned yourself to your own personal “hell,” but you don’t even know what you’ve done because you think you know all about God’s love.
A good example is something that happened to me 20 years ago. I had done my initial study of shame (which I’ve written about since). I realized that shame was not just a topic for other people. Shame was MY issue. My dad shamed me and I faithfully passed it on to my kids.
I felt sick about it for three months. It haunted me. I felt like I had passed on an incurable disease that would affect my kids forever. But then it dawned on me that hating myself and being depressed wasn’t doing anything productive. It only made things worse. It wasn’t helping my kids to continually beat myself up and live under the weight of guilt. I was letting my shame rob from me again. How ironic!
So I decided to agree with God and forgive myself. If he could love me in my failure, then I could too. I stopped berating myself and owned my shame, talked to my kids about it, and actively sought to not only change my behavior but teach what I learned to others. Instead of wallowing in self-pity I broke the cycle of shame that my dad passed onto me. That’s a good thing! That’s something I am proud of doing.
I mention this because you might do the same thing…beat yourself up over failure and not allow God to love you and forgive you. But if you want to find the freedom that God has for you, that needs to happen. Just think whom you might become if you loved yourself like God does?
I gave away my book on Sunday that deals with overcoming shame. I want to do the same here. Click this link: Healing the Hurts of Your Past. I hope you’ll read it and post a link to the book on Facebook so your friends will read it too! Why give it away? That’s simple: more people will read it. More people will discover how shame has diminished them and the people around them. And hopefully, more people will find the same freedom I have found.