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Communion 2010

Shame

Originally scheduled for March 14, 2010

Shame. Most of us are introduced to the idea at a very early age in life. The dictionary tells us three things about it:

It is an emotion, a feeling. So it’s not the same as guilt, which is a fact without emotion.

It often involves others losing respect for you.

It is a sense of unworthiness or disgrace.

Modern psychiatry evidently considers shame as something to be, well, ashamed of. It’s a cliché that the psychiatrist’s first question is, “Why do you feel guilty about that?” In short, shame itself is viewed as the problem. The solution, we are told, is counseling which will make you feel better about yourself.

This might be a good idea if you are ashamed of something absurd. But what if your shame is based in genuine guilt? “Feeling better about yourself” then really translates to self-justification and self-righteousness. It takes a clever – and expensive – psychiatrist to get you past this. Which is why most of us prefer hypocrisy instead; it’s much cheaper.

Communion deals with guilt and shame differently.

Communion reminds each of us that we are, individually, sinners. Each of us has something to be ashamed of.

Communion reminds all of us that we are all sinners. No one has the clean hands required to point fingers at someone else. No one but Christ.

Christ does not point fingers; rather, he atoned for our sins. Communion is the reminder that he made that sacrifice for us.

The choice is simple: by psychiatry or hypocrisy you can convince yourself of your own righteousness. Or you can accept the righteousness of Christ. Examine yourself; accept the forgiveness purchased at the Cross – and leave with a clean heart. The choice is yours.

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