Theories of the atonement, what the cross of Jesus means for us, tend to focus on sin. What about our shame? I suspect more people wrestle with shame while believing they have been forgiven their sins.
It All Starts Somewhere
Stories matter. Sometimes our stories get buried beneath another person’s fear. When we are young and need an advocate but find the logical representative has not been given the tools to face the unthinkable, shame becomes the tool in the hands of fear.
Today Steve Austin joins me on the podcast. He is the author of, From Pastor to Psych Ward: Recovery from a Suicide Attempt is Possible. We talk about the role shame played in his life. Any number of decisions trace back to a traumatic event. Our own personal decisions then compound shame fueled by fear. Steve points out that we believe the rumor long before the truth.
The Truth Is Sin Is a Cause for Healing
Human beings inherit a system of retribution. We look to get back, to get even. We think punishment is a synonym for justice. The cycle runs through our systems and holds us captive. Our talk of sin tends to capitalize on this experience.
What if we considered sin a cause for healing? We know its harmful effects. We are aware of its inherent consequences to our relationships and well-being. What if, as Steve suggests, we considered it a cause for healing? What if the primary response from others is comfort and inclusion that leads to healing rather than shame and exclusions?
Looking for the Immediate in a Life of Processes
The Christian Tradition declares that in Jesus human beings find redemption. Our read of Scripture describes this as immediate. When it comes to restoration, Austin reminds it is a process. We must learn all the ways our story has been riddled with shame and the way it has formed us. Rooting out our fears that have lived in the shadows takes time and help.
Caring for the soul includes caring for the self. Steve just published a Self-Care for the Wounded Soul: 21 Days of Messy Grace. Austin is joined by Kate Pieper, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, providing a resource for those who find Steve’s story their own and long for a regular series of practices that help with the process of restoration.
I hope this conversation is helpful. Please note the audio, particularly my side of the conversation is not up to normal recording quality. Do not be thrown by it. The conversation is too important. If you provide care to people as pastor or lay person, even as a friend, this conversation will be helpful to help the church get over its role as Older Brother in the Prodigal Story. Yes, you will the to listen as Steve describes how he experienced this for himself.
Steve blogs at graceismessy.
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