Do you find yourself trying to do enough good, or to be good enough, in order to get people to like you? Do you try to free yourself from sin so that God will like you? What if you didn’t have to do that? What if you could receive grace?
It’s so freeing to get into relationships where you don’t have to perform to be liked. It’s so freeing to discover that you are liked, just because. Someone likes you and even loves you, just as you are. When that happens, it gets easier to accept your mistakes and your problems. When you live in grace, you understand that the flesh will always be the flesh. You will always make mistakes, and you will always have problems. And yet you are loved. Just like that! Just as you are.
Living in my flesh, I know that something is always going to go wrong. In my flesh, I might cuss somebody out. In my flesh, I might lie. In my flesh, I might lust. In my flesh, I might boil in anger. In my flesh, I might gossip. That is all part of the flesh. We all make mistakes.
So why do we shame each other? Why do we shame ourselves? Is there anyone who hasn’t lived in their flesh? Can you tell me that you have never acted out? Never cut someone off in traffic? Never flipped someone off? Never yelled at someone? Never gossiped? Never had a bad thought about anybody? I know you have! Everybody has.
We know this, and yet we still feel shame. We struggle to clean up the mess we’ve made. And we hide it all, because we fear our shame. Fear and shame cause us to put on a mask and pretend that we are perfect.
But that mask is a burden. We get hot and sweaty behind it. We don’t breathe well. When you wear a mask at Halloween, it’s not very comfortable, is it? Kids take their masks off their heads because they don’t want to wear them anymore. So why do we wear them all the time?
It’s not fun to wear a mask, but that’s what happens when you try to fix your own sin. You think, “I won’t be loved unless I’m good, so I have to pretend to be good while I figure this out. I can pretend by putting on this mask. No one will see my fear and shame while I figure out how to be good.” We do this all the time, but it’s exhausting.
The Bible says there’s no condemnation now. Grace abounds over sin, and you can live a righteous life in truth, not shame. Truth sets us free from shame! That’s what happens with the Spirit of God.
I’ll continue this next time. See you Monday.