Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Now, remember each of these four things only Jesus can do and counteracts one of the four most common toxins for humans. I’d summarize it in this way. * Peace that counteracts the fear! * Joy that counteracts the guilt! * Love that counteracts the anger! * Grace that counteracts the shame!
The toxin we are left with is shame. Shame is the residue that hangs on from the damage of your fear, anger, and guilt. This shame is the source of our feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, insecurity, need to control, future-tripping, over-compensating, attitude of judgment and condemnation, critical attitude, depression, and lack of forgiveness toward others-and especially a lack of forgiveness of yourself. Shame literally means to be disfigured and disgraced. It’s a feeling of never being able to get back up or back on track again. Shame leaves you with the feeling that unless you get a total do-over, there is no hope of being whole and acceptable.
The only possible do-over for anyone comes through the experience of grace. Karma, which is another way of saying that we reap what we sow-is a reality. There are always consequences for our actions. But there is something that trumps karma-grace. Grace is something you don’t deserve, something you didn’t work for, something you weren’t able to plan for or to orchestrate. Grace is given by Jesus, many times with no rhyme or reason to it.
Jesus never uses the term “grace”, yet embodies it. Grace is one of the primary themes of Jesus as he touches the untouchable lepers and the unclean, as he opens the eyes of the blind, as he has compassion on the poor and the disenfranchised, as he receives those who are on the outside of the religious world, as he welcomes women and children-those normally pushed aside, and as he chooses the ordinary, uneducated to be the leaders of his movement. Just as grace trumps karma, so does Jesus, the deliverer of grace, trump everything!
Grace that counteracts shame includes two vital dynamics-forgiveness and freedom! Paul defined it best in the 13th chapter of Acts: “Through Him(Jesus) forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him (Jesus)everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39) Forgiveness provides the opportunity for a complete do-over. Then, once you are able to accept that you are forgiven and the shame is wiped clean, you have the freedom to be all that you were created to be. It’s hard to imagine two more powerful life principles than these, working together.
Through Jesus, grace-forgiveness and freedom-is available to anyone who wants it. This is the kind of grace that you just can’t get on your own. All kinds of religious systems and programs offer you lots of things, but only Jesus can give you true and lasting peace, joy, love, and grace.