Friday, January 20, 2017

Who are you going to believe?

I often see guilt as the motivating pull towards Jesus. That’s easy to understand since we preach a gospel of shame.  I remember an encounter once with a youth group leader.  I was trying to explain why we worked hard not to make guilt the motivator in our presentations.  He was pushing hard for a presentation that brought on guilt because in his mind guilt was the best motivator.  Guilt is what brought people to Jesus… is it?  Are we to be motivated by guilt?  I thought guilt and shame are what Jesus came to release us from.  I’m still sad when I think of that conversation.  It felt like I was at odds with the whole religious world.  But I still believe that it is fruitless to preach the gospel to bring on guilt and shame so that people will repent and turn to Jesus.  I'm thinking of Zacchaeus.  You can read about him in Luke 19:1-10.  What motivated him to repent?  Was it his shame or was it that he was accepted... included... Loved?  I believe Love is the only fruitful motivator. Check out 1 Corinthians 13:1-3  

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."

We all feel guilty and shameful about something.  We all have those skeletons in our closets.  We hide them all the more meticulously when we have never encountered grace.  What is grace?  Isn’t it the release of all that guilt and shame?  not because we aren’t guilty but then again, well wait, are we?  If we stand cleansed of our guilt and shame,  what does that mean?  I believe it means we don’t have to move or struggle encumbered by our guilty feelings.  We can stand against them in the Name of Jesus and move out of a place drenched in Love.  We can walk without shame.  What does that even look like?

I believe we have a choice.  We can listen to the guilt and shame and be paralyzed by it’s condemnations.  Or, we can recognize that we have sinned and yet receive the cleansing given freely to us by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  We can receive that fact the Jesus delights in us, and because of His Love, we are free. Free means Free!

It then becomes a choice of faith.  Are you defined by the evil that you have done?  NO, No, NO!!!  You are defined by the blood of Jesus.  You are clean.  Choose to believe Him and He will set you free.