Grief and Shame as Motivation to Overcome

I remember a colleague of mine at a treatment center I worked at years ago commonly made the comment that we don’t see enough people blushing or weeping over their sin.  Weeping is a direct representation of repentance because of one’s sinful nature and the need for God to fill one’s heart.  We should allow ourselves to feel the pain of what our sin has done.  That is part of the grieving process as well.  We should be able to grieve over the consequences of what sin has done.  If all you do is smile after you realize what sin has done you haven’t been truly honest.  This weeping is part of the shame process from original sin.

Specific to shame in Genesis 2:25 we see Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden naked and felt no shame.  Once they disobeyed God they now had the knowledge that they were naked and therefore, felt shame.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves, Genesis 3:7.

Since shame is a core issue in our life and is founded from knowledge we try and anesthetize that pain of shame by severing the conscience.  A classic example of this in sexual sin is when people say how great they feel when they come out of the closet and expose to their family and friends they are homosexual.  This exposure of hidden emotions is not the only answer to releasing shame.  It has some brief release and support from others which inhibits brain chemistry just like coming clean with any thing we are keeping secret.  But, the embracing of the homosexual lifestyle has another level of shame that can never be cured by simply convincing everyone else around you it’s okay.  I have counseled many men and women that have lived in gay communities, been in parades, protests, and marriages.  They have all stated that the shame was still present even when the acceptance of everyone else around them was trying hard to help them be convinced it was okay.  Simply put, they tell me it’s a lie.  The lie is exactly what satan’s method was to manipulate Eve and Adam to disobey.

Once we start down that slippery slope of listening to lies and allowing our cognition, thinking, to be compromised we are headed for “relapse.”  (Relapse prevention into sexual sin will be talked about in next week’s article)

The other element is how we as a culture have pursued to justify ourselves to not have to feel the shame and not blush.  This is exactly what some are doing when trying to convince the government to legalize gay marriage.

Paige Cothren of Houston, Mississippi has written about the conscience recently in his book Neither Could They Blush.  In this work he identifies how the severing of one’s conscience through repetitive lowering of standards by justification, rationalization and minimizing behaviors has brought many to perform acts that they later regret.  He defines the conscience as:

The testimony and secret judgment of the mind which gives its approval to actions which it thinks good or condemns those which it believes to be bad: It’s an inner knowledge of mankind arising out of our general and experienced learning before salvation but which may be conformed to the will of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit after salvation, page 14.

Paige continues to describe how those in foreign missions have seen first hand those that were cannibals and living nude and with a severed conscience.  When they heard and received the Word of God they were immediately aware that cannibalism and nudity was not acceptable.  This is part of the inner working of the Holy Spirit.  They didn’t have to be told it was wrong.

It is our responsibility though as we are new Christians to make choices with our thinking and actions that will motivate a stronger conscience to be Christ like.  As a final word:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will, Romans 12:1-2.

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About Tommy Corman

Tommy provides direction and vision for the ministry of Restoration Path. He provides individual counseling for those struggling with sex and drug addiction. He facilitates support groups for struggling individuals and parents. He has served in clinical and ministerial settings for those struggling with addiction issues. Tommy is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in the State of Tennessee, holds a Master in Biblical Counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Crichton College. Tommy and his wife live in Bartlett with their three children.

4 Responses to “Grief and Shame as Motivation to Overcome”

  1. Charles May 16, 2012 9:07 pm #

    Tommy,

    You are so right on in this article. I believe that as long as we (all people) try to justify our sin (any sin) and try and suppress our conscience, eventually our conscience will be seared as scripture states. At this point, there is no longer that sorrow, shame or guilt we had for our actions, but only judgment for our actions. This is why I believe that those who say they can be “Gay” and Christian at the same time are only trying to justify their sin, and this obviously only in their own eyes, because scripture tells us we are not to be “workers of iniquity”. We will never be sinless in this life, because temptation is all around us and in us, however we are told to “Flee temptation”, not indulge in it.

    I am a Christian man depending each and every day on the “Holy Spirit” to be my comfort, guide and strength to draw me closer to God through his Son, Jesus Christ. I struggle with temptations of all types including same sex attractions, and I read what the Word of God says and doesn’t say about living a life pleasing to the Lord, and trying to justify sinful behavior is not an option.

    • Tommy Corman May 17, 2012 1:34 am #

      God bless you for seeing the struggle for what it is and not taking it on as an identity. We are more than our sexual attractions. We all have pains and have tried to cope with them in different ways. Seeking the mind of Christ is an acceptable challenge to pursue. A worthy cause to be focused upon. I get really excited about the freedom of being able to let go of sin and know I have the power to make choices. It’s not easy, but it is simple.

      Tommy

  2. Charlo May 17, 2012 1:05 am #

    Thanks Tommy for an excellent article. There is no shame in public but I know that there is shame in private. It continues to grow and fester. But when the conscience is seared with a hot iron…there is only desolation. I am seeing it in the lives of friends who are gay and ‘married’. The 2 dear male friends who asked me to marry them ( I did not have my credentials at that time), finally did have a civil ceremony but without my participation or acknowledgement. It was a very sad day for them I am told. I wrote a very long and tearful letter to them, explaining GOD’s Covenant of Marriage. These guys were both raised Jewish, so all of the scripture I shared with them was familiar to them. I urged them to seek GOD and ask HIM to show them His Son, Jesus Christ!! That the only thing that mattered was their eternal soul. I figured that if they received Jesus as Messiah, that the Holy Spirit would take care of the rest. The Lord told me a long time ago, that He had WIVES for bothof them!! I cannot tell you how I wept for them. I love them but I shared what was important for them to know because I felt the Lord urge me to tell them! I have not stopped praying for their deliverance. There is much pain and rejection from their fathers. I pray that they receive Jesus as their Messiah in this life. Keep up the GOOD work! God bless you. I AM SO ENCOURAGED BY THIS BLOG.

    PAX,
    Dr. Charlo Crossley Fortier

  3. Denise May 22, 2012 7:48 pm #

    Thanks so much for your article. Sin of any kind will take us farther than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay, and cost us more than we ever want to pay. I’ve seen those I love deal with sexual immorality causing death & destruction along the way. May God continue to use you in this ministry & may we as Christians stand firm to share Truth in love & in hope that God will turn people around.

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