Summary: Our relationships must be based on Grace, not shame.
Grace-Full Relationships November 3, 2002
On the first week we looked at relationships where grace is not in place
We talked about how when we try to control those around us for our own purposes we are living in the curse that Adam and Eve received when they sinned. (And though you may desire to control your husband, he will be your master.” Gen. 3:16 NLT with footnote) And we are trying to take over God’s job – to shape and mold people according to his good purpose.
We talked about how we are born with a “Holy Spirit shaped hole” in our hearts, and in order to fill that emptiness, we often concentrate on the exterior, performance orientated areas of our life. After awhile, we realize that no amount of success or sin can fill that hole, so we go looking for someone else to fill the hole – usually a mate or family member. They look good on the outside, but because they are just as empty on the inside as we are, they can’t fill our emptiness, and we cannot fill theirs. So we start to try to shape them into the type of person that can fill our emptiness.
We talked about how this is idolatry. Whenever we go to another person or thing to do for us what only God can do for us, we are treating them as another god, and it is idolatry.
We looked at how, when we are filled with the Spirit, and living our lives by the power of the Spirit, we no longer need to look to others to fill our emptiness, and we do not have to manipulate and control them so that they will fill our emptiness!
So because we are strengthened in our inner being by the Holy Spirit, we have the strength to submit to one another!
It is one of those Christian paradoxes – God gives us strength, not so we can rule over, but so we can serve!
Today, as a final installment, I want to look at the difference between a Grace-based family or relationship, and a family or relationship that is based on shame.
Grace and Shame are polar opposites
Shame is this deep feeling of being worthless, unacceptable, of being a bad person. It is different than guilt – guilt is what we feel when we have done something wrong – shame is what we feel like when we think that we are a bad person, no matter what we have done.
I believe that all parents shame their children at some point or another.
Sometimes it is overt
- some children are constantly being told that they are no good, that they are a pain in the neck, that they are more trouble than they are worth, or that their worth relies on doing the right things.
Pam’s student who wasn’t allowed treats not because they would rot his teeth, but because he never deserved them.
Comparisons: why can’t you be more like...
Grace, on the other hand begins with the depth of worth of the person – no matter what their actions are they have worth because they are created in the image of God.
Brand new $20 bill – what can you buy with it?
Crumple it up, stomp on it…
What can you buy with it now?
Shame sees the crinkles, the rips, the dirt. Grace sees the worth.
This is how the band U2 sing about grace
Grace – U2
Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name
Grace, she’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Grace makes beauty out of ugly things
I love the line that says “she travels outside of karma.” Karma is an eastern religion concept that has gained a lot of popularity in the West. The basic concept is tied to reincarnation – the things that you do in this life either improve your karma or detract from it. If you create good Karma, you will return as something better ion the next life, if you create bad karma, you will return as something worse: a dung beetle, or a Baptist pastor. Karma is really all about just rewards – karma says, “you get what you deserve.” Grace travels outside of karma – grace gives us the good things we don’t deserve. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – that is grace.