We can agree with what the gospel says about our sinfulness without becoming overwhelmed by guilt and shame. Further, we do not have to prove that we are victims rather than victimizers out of a desperate effort to persuade ourselves that we are righteous. We have Christ’s righteousness already. We can rest in this.
Although we cannot alter the past, we can put our past on the altar.
The Bible does not teach that a man is saved by a principle, but by the shedding of blood. Salvation is not through life lived, but through life poured out. It is not by the life of Jesus that we are redeemed; but by His life given up in the pain and suffering of a shameful death, of which death there is no sufficient symbol or method of expression other than that of the shedding of blood. Redemption is provided, not by the richness of His life provided, but by the suffering of His life poured out.
Do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least submit willingly to, the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself — an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making you ashamed and humbled?…Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong?…We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit that we should be ashamed. For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing. Shame is a thing to shame only those who want to appear, not those who want to be . Shame is to shame those who want to pass their examination, not those who would get into the heart of things…To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of truth.
Sin hath the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages.
I vividly remember how I had, at one time, become totally dependent on the affection and friendship of one person. This dependency threw me into a pit of great anguish and brought me to the verge of a very self-destructive depression. But from the moment I was helped to experience my interpersonal addiction as an expression of a need for total surrender to a living God who would fulfill the deepest desires of my heart, I started to live my dependency in a radically new way. Instead of living it in shame and embarrassment, I was able to live it as an urgent invitation to claim God’s unconditional love for myself, a love I can depend on without any fear.