In a recent discussion with a young mom, I was amazed to see how a moment of empathizing was turned into a moment of God Growth. WHY am I still amazed at God's ability to teach me in almost every circumstance, but especially when I am least expecting a lesson?
Young mother was experiencing a first---a hard first for all moms---she had learned her child had acted harshly toward another. We all like to think our children are way above average and perhaps even exceptional. It is a BIG blow to discover they have feet of clay--just like their parents. As we talked over the story, I laughed and told her, "Welcome to Parenthood". Oh sure you are a parent before this day, but the nitty gritty of raising a child begins when they discover they can rebel and not only walk over that line in the sand drawn by mom and dad, but sometimes stomp it into the dirt on the way.
These moments are what I refer to as "Teaching Moments". The opportunity to teach our children what is right and why wrong is wrong. OH-they are not easy--far from it. To begin with we have to deal with our bruised egos--super mom has lost her super powers. And then the BIGGIE comes into play--SHAME. Shame for the child and shame for the parent. The teaching moment not only involves consequences for wrong actions, but also how to leave shame behind.
During our discussion, I shared it had occurred to me that their was "Shame Hang On" in my own life. I still hold shame for things that happened over Six Decade ago. Childhood indiscretions which have hidden in the recesses of my mind my entire life. Shame which could have easily been avoided by atonement and redemption, but instead had shaped who I am today and how I react in many cases. Keeping secrets is always risky behavior, but never more risky than when it leaves us with unresolved shame.
Grace and forgiveness should be the traits which shape our behavior, not shame and guilt. I began reading this book last week to use as a ministry resource,
Once again, I began a search for a book to help a friend, and was struck directly between the eyes with my own need for growth. This book has reminded me our reactions as adults are often learned as children. "The things marking us from yesterday are still part of the making of us today." REREAD THAT, FRIENDS! It is SO IMPORTANT! Shame is a direct hinderance to spiritual growth. Forgiveness is ours for the taking--and once we have been forgiven--there is no need for shame. This involves admitting stepping over the line and in some cases how we were injured when someone else stepped over the line and damaged us. We are able to be forgiven and we are able to forgive---AND THEN---we can leave the shame of it all behind.
Read the book---and do not judge it from the first pages---there is something in it for ALL of us to learn from and use. I leave you with this quote-
"We can't change what we have experienced, but we can choose how the experiences change us."
"Do not fear, for you will not be put to shame,
And do not feel humiliated or ashamed,
for you will not be disgraced.
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And you will no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood."