The Christian Atheist:
Chapter Two – When You Believe in God but Are Ashamed of Your Past
I really loved this chapter. Far to often we are ashamed of our past and limit our future because of it. We believe we are what we have done. The thought that if anyone knew who we truly are, they wouldn’t want us to be apart of our life. Pastor Craig explains in his book:
Shame usually follows a pattern—a cycle of self-recrimination and lies that claims life after life. First, we experience an intensely painful event. Second, we believe the lie that our pain and failure is who we are—not just something we’ve done, or had done to us—and we experience shame. And finally, our feelings of shame trap us into thinking that we can never recover—that, in fact, we don’t even deserve to.
This feeling of shame is a viscous cycle that hunts us. We feel so guilty for what we do, we let it define us. If you want to know the truth, WE ALL do very shameful things. No one is perfect (except God). The great thing is, whatever we have done, or been through, Jesus forgives us for it.
Like Peter, we can become convinced of the truth: namely, that we are not our sins. And we’re also not what others have done to us. Rather, We are who God says we are: his children. We are forgivable. We are changeable. We are capable. We are moldable. And we are bound by the limitless love of God.
We are forgivable and Gods love has no boundaries. There is nothing we can hide from God, but at the same time there is nothing He won’t forgive us for as long as we ask for it.
If we look at David from the bible we see that he had sexual relations with another mans wife and she became pregnant. He than had her husband killed in war so that he could claim the women to be his wife. Later a prophet of the Lord, Nathan, told David of his son. Just imagine how David felt! He could have easily given up hope. He could have fallen in to the lies of shame. Instead he wrote Psalm 51
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
I love this! Instead of David beating himself up over what he had down, he asks the Lord for forgiveness. He asks “Create in me a pure heart.” He wants to start over with a new heart. This is what we should do, not beat ourselves up over our past. Our past is our past, it is behind you. Do not let the past hinder your future.
If you have something that you are struggling with, or struggled with in the past, and you can’t get yourself over the shame of it. Pastor Craig’s church created a website a few years ago called http://www.mysecret.tv You can use the site to confess anonymously about anything and invite others to pray for you.