Learn to live loved. – Paul Young
Let me tell you one of Peter at the Pearly Gates stories…
A man dies and found himself standing at the gates of heaven. He saw Peter at the table with a big book and a pen. He walked over to Peter and asked to enter. Peter said to him, “You have to have at least 300 points.” He began listing the good things he had done. He told Peter that he had been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen feeding the homeless and the poor for over 20 years.
“OK. That’s one point.” said Peter.
“Are you kidding?”
“Nope. That’s one point.”
“Well, I’ve been paying my tithes and offering for over thirty years.”
“OK. One point.”
“What?!?! I was a pastor in our church for thirty-five years.”
He was still talking when a man walked right past them straight into the city. The man turned to Peter and asked, “How come he’s not checking in with you?”
Peter smiled, “Oh, he doesn’t play that game.”
Shame is intensely painful feeling that we are not worthy of love and belonging. Shame is the most primitive emotion that started since Adam and Eve. When they realized that they were naked, they stitched fig leaves to hide their nakedness. And ultimately blamed God. Shame keeps us locked up in a jail we’ve created ourselves. The truth is you might be surprised to learn that you’re not alone. The degree of pain may vary because of our uniqueness as individuals. But shame is the same across the board. Carl Rogers, an American Psychologist, says that what is most personal is most general. In other words, what you think is your shame alone is the same across economy, race, gender, creed and culture. None of us is perfect. And to acknowledge our imperfection is a risk we must take, a doorway to courage. Courageous people strive to be more human and more alive by self-acceptance and joy.
Perfectionism is a cognitive behavioral process – thinking and feeling. For example, if I do it perfectly, look perfect, I can minimize shame, blame, and judgment. It is walking around carrying a shield to protect us from being seen. It is a false, superficial appearance that we are perfect, better than…! This is a lot of work because it is pursuing and striving for a world that doesn’t exist.
Blame is another form of judgment, the flip side of shame. We’re too quick to point our fingers at others, refusing to take responsibility for our own life. I’m not saying you excuse their offenses. NO! You just let go and let God through forgiveness. Forgiveness do not establish relationships but removes them from judgment.
As we acknowledge and admit our brokenness, our shame, we must trust that God is involved in every detail of our life. He longs to heal our shame, restore our brokenness, and show us what we’ve lost. He is always in the center of our story.
The man who walked through the pearly gates without points didn’t play the game of religiosity and perfection. He knew that in Christ, he was worthy of love and belonging… he learned to live loved. [/restrict]