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Hiding from God

Hiding from God

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1 John 2:28

In my addiction, I became profoundly ashamed of who I was and what I was doing. My behavior was completely inconsistent with everything I believed. So, I had to either quit using drugs or figure out a way around my conscience. I couldn’t quit, so the primary way I circumvented my shame was to abandon God. Living in the dark, I couldn’t stand the light, so I certainly couldn’t look at his face. That was far too painful for eyes accustomed to the shadows. The proper response to my shame should have been to abandon the thing that caused the shame and to desperately return to God. My shame though, drove me from him. I fought something similar early in my recovery. I knew I needed to be in church, but my shame made avoid it. It was just too painful to face all those people who knew everything I’d done. My shame almost caused me to run from the very thing I needed.

In today’s passage, John addressed shame, its source, and its solution. In the passage, he said that we must dwell in God – following his will, living rightly – so that we may face God without shame. It is in following our own self-destructive nature that we cause ourselves shame.* It is only in abandoning our way and following God’s that we confidently experience the hope, joy, and peace for which we were made.

In treatment, I met those who had no shame. They’d destroyed their lives and their families just as I had. They convinced themselves though, that because they’d asked God for forgiveness, that all was well. I couldn’t get there yet. Yes, I believed God forgave me, but I still carried shame for those whom I’d hurt. For me, the only remedy for that shame was the remedy prescribed by John in today’s passage. He didn’t say that all our shame is dismissed when we ask forgiveness, though that is the first step. John said we only banish shame by living in God’s will.

For me, that was the key. I had to live differently. I couldn’t simply continue following myself, ask God forgiveness, and hope to experience peace and joy. My way brought me only shame. The only way out of that shame was to truly repent and abandon the thing that caused it in the first place. In making a daily effort to abide in him, I’ve found the answer to my shame.

 

*To be clear, I’m referring here to the shame we bring on ourselves, not the misplaced guilt of being victimized by someone else.

2 Responses

  1. Don Williamson says:

    Great word Scott. Truth. Truth. Truth. Thank you.

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