Thursday, December 30, 2010
Shame and Honesty
His eyes pleading, his voice desperate, his face red with intensity, he asked “...what do you really think of me?” This question had come after animated discussion around his difficulty in seeing how he works in order to maintain an image. Failing in his ability to do so, he would then punish (with his anger) when those around him failed to recognize how hard he was working to be seen as good. His thoughts, filled with shame around his inescapable humanity created and promoted his suffering. We had talked about how easy it is to worry about the thoughts of others when we feel ashamed of who we are on the inside...about how easy it is to blame than to see choices we have made...or...how this behavior helps us avoid the pain in our souls. His question was a risk. My answer to him was honest. He welcomed it. Hope washed over him replacing the desperation on his face.
God is like that with us. He never trivializes the suffering we go through with flippant or dishonest replies to our cries for help. Hebrews 6:17-19a says, “Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeability) of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation.... This hope we have as an anchor of the soul...” (NKJ) God’s answers to my cries in the face of shame filled thoughts may not always be pleasant to the ear but they will be honest and given out of his determination to reveal His unchangeable character. The answers God gives will be designed to reveal and heal something within me but reveal the love, hope, and depth of character within Him. It is this fact that provides hope to us all and anchors our souls in times of need.