Today marks the 400th edition of 4th Day Letters. In the Bible, the number 400 is closely associated with the subject of bondage. In Genesis 15:13, Abram is told his people will be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years. Sadly, we are all still enslaved to sin today. God desires to set us free. Today’s message is extremely important. I invite you to read more of this special 400th edition.
The number 400 is also seen by some Biblical scholars as meaning lament. Lament is defined as an expression of grief or sorrow. Our sins not only cause lamentation and regret but they frequently lead to shame. Shame leads to silence, and silence leads to slavery. Shame is the emotion that tells us as prodigal sons and daughters of God that “I can’t go home; I can’t go back to The Father, I am unworthy.”
In 2011, God called me out of my self-imposed slavery and shame. Prior to His call, shame had caused me to hide the fact that I had been sexually molested as a young boy and to hide the ensuing sins and negative effects that event caused in my life. Since then, I have tried my best every week to share the thoughts that God was placing on my heart. God called me to a mission of helping others through sharing my own experiences.
Underlying all of my 400 messages is this theme, “It isn’t good or healthy for anyone to hurt alone.” I learned this personally. No one should remain imprisoned to their shame and past sins. I did for way to long. God stands ready to run out to each of us like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son.
Shame is a very destructive human emotion. It imprisons us. In the article Shame: A Concealed, Contagious, and Dangerous Emotion, written in Psychology Today, by Mary C. Lamia Ph.D, she writes, that shame is a self-conscious emotion, that informs us of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, regret, or disconnection. Shame prompts us to conceal what we have done. No matter what might have triggered our shame, once we experience shame, the deterioration of our self-esteem can be devastating.”
Shame causes people to retreat within. It isolates us. It encourages us to hide from others. Shame is frequently accompanied with the emotions of envy, anger, rage, and anxiety. Shame often also leads to sadness, depression, depletion, loneliness, and emptiness. Shame forces us to wear masks to save face. Shame can become the driving force behind addictions, compulsive behaviors, and self-criticism. The worst aspect of shame is that it works hard to block out the light of Christ.
In Luke 15: 17-19, we read that the son came to his senses and decided to return home to his father but his shame is evident in his planned apology, “I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” This is precisely the lie that Satan wants us all to believe. Once we have sinned, Satan wants us to believe that we are unworthy of the Father’s love.
In the Book of Genesis, Satan essentially tells Eve this message, “YOU CANT TRUST GOD.” He told her that God lied about the consequences of eating the fruit of the tree. From then on, Satan has been lying about God. Satan delights in our shame. He delights in causing us to believe that God thinks less of us after we sin. Many people do not live in fear of dying, but instead, they live in fear of seeing the disgust on God’s face after their death.
One day we will meet God face to face. When we do, I feel certain HE will say to us, “I AM NOT ASHAMED OF YOU!” He will say to us, “I love you and all I ask for in return is your love.” Sure there is judgement, but I believe God will say, “I have already judged you and your sins have been forgiven on the cross.” He loves us, yes even in our broken condition.
This past week a friend of mine shared a trailer for a movie with me. This movie speaks directly to the heart of today’s message. The movie’s title is THE HEART OF MAN. If you are dealing with any form of shame in your life, I implore you to take a few minutes to watch this trailer and then click the link above to rent or buy the movie and watch it more than once.
It has been a blessing to share these messages with you for the past 400 weeks. I look forward to sharing many more. I would also welcome the opportunity to come to your church or parish and share my testimony and provide the healing impact of the Blessed, Broken and Scared retreat. Please click here to inquire about a retreat.
Please don’t let shame keep you imprisoned. God loves you. Trust Him. Don’t be afraid any longer.
Heavenly Father I know in my heart that your Son came to set me free. Lord I ask you right now to break any remaining chains of slavery to my past sin, and bring me to a new life in Jesus your Son, amen.
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
Here is a special addendum to today’s message. This is an interview with Wm. Paul Young, the author of the bestselling story, THE SHACK.