We abandon hope when we doubt God's promises. We abandon hope when we think that we deserve better than what God has provided. We abandon hope when we see the glass as half empty instead of half full. We abandon hope when we give up. We abandon hope when we try to control things instead of trusting God. We abandon hope when we let fear control us. We abandon hope when we don't trust God's will, purpose, and plan for our life.
If you find yourself relating to one (or more) of the statements above there IS STILL HOPE for you! When I created a speaking topic titled Turning Hopelessness Into Hope, I began to see how guilt, shame, and fear keep hope locked up, thus keeping hopelessness alive.
I will attempt to put an hour long speaking topic into a "nut shell" :)
I felt the Lord giving me a picture of guilt, shame, and fear as three big, burly, mean, armed body guards. Their job is to keep hope locked in a box, allowing hopelessness to run rampant and wild in the world.
There are three ways to defeat guilt, shame, and fear:
1. Define guilt, shame and fear
2. Gain a scriptural understanding for guilt, shame, and fear
3. Put all of that into a perspective that is honoring and pleasing to God
Guilt: A feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, or wrong, whether real or imagined
Shame: A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace
Fear: A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain, whether real or imagined
Guilt: Guilt isn't all bad...in fact we need a healthy (key word-healthy) dose of guilt so that we wont continue in a harmful, sinful, dangerous, or unhealthy path way. Guilt leads towards repentance. We have to be pro-active in choosing repentance though. Jesus calls us to repent. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17
Shame: Shame is never from God. Shame is a trick of the enemy to keep hope locked up and hopelessness alive and well. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5
Fear: The only fear we should have is the fear of the Lord. It's about the balance again, a healthy balance. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. Psalm 19:9a & The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep commandments, because this applies to every person. Ecclesiastes 12:13 This doesn't mean we must live in trembling fear of God, as if He is going strike us down at the very thought of sin. He is our father, our hearts should desire to honor and please Him with our actions and thoughts. The healthy balance of fear towards God is what pulls us towards repentance.
A perspective that is honoring and pleasing to God
1. Stop taking responsibility for other peoples choices and behavior. For me it was realizing I was not responsible for my parents divorce, their sadness, their alcoholism, the feelings they had towards one another, nor the choices they made. I also had to realize, I was not responsible for my ex husbands childhood, his anger, issues, violence, nor his choices. You can never love someone to hope. They have to want it for themselves. We can encourage, pray and love those who are struggling, however it is not "us" who ultimately saves them or finds hope for them.
2. Stop putting things under the rug. I had to see for myself that just because I didn't say something out loud or confront someone about what they did or said, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Ignoring, hiding, or covering up things, doesn't make them go away. There is a balance once again in confronting and speaking up. We are not called to judge others or their motives, however we are also not called to be door mats either. One of my favorite examples of this is found in John chapter 8. The story of the adulteress woman. In this story Jesus clearly doesn't ignore her sin, however ,He makes those who brought her to Him think about their own sin. Once they leave He doesn't shame the woman or yell at her: He spoke truth to her. He showed compassion but at the same time He tells her to sin no more. "And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." John 8:11 Jesus never put anything under the rug.
Choose today to live in HOPE!
*Guilt, Shame, and Fear drawn by Laura Spence
*For further encouragement on topics of Wellness, Victory, Freedom, Purpose, and Love please visit my "sister" bloggers-the links for each site on the right