Shame And Grace Part 3 - The Power Of Acceptance

Nov 29

Shame And Grace Part 3 - The Power Of Acceptance

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 06:47 — Thabo Mokete

There is a life transforming power within grace. The power of acceptance found in grace burns up our shameful weakness, our fear and anxiety and melts them into love. Love for life itself.

There is often a weakness in the soul that keeps bringing the person down, over and over again. In the course of time, this becomes a source of great shame and self-reproach. Even before the world or God can judge us, we find we are already judged and sentenced within our own self.

The soul judges everything that falls short of the required standard. It becomes a sin against self.1 We have no need to be told by God or the world that we have sinned. Our own self judges against us.
That weakness that one discovers in his own soul is painful because it cannot be fixed! We are unable to fix our own character defects, especially after we have judged them not OK. It's a vicious cycle.

The only thing we can do is keep a secret of that weakness, if possible. Let the world not see, and if possible, let God not see. This is now my burden and I will carry it through with me down till the grave. It's now a monkey on my back, I'll carry it.

Meanwhile the monkey destroys the joy and love of life piece by piece. One becomes hostile to life, because one now feels judged by it. Even when life holds out a compassionate hand,  one bites it, for fear of further judgment.

What we often don't realize is that every weakness is laid bare and open before God. And we wonder why He does nothing about it! The things we hide from God and life itself cannot be healed. As long as we are trying to fix weakness so we can be acceptable, we are out of the reach of healing.

The pain multiplies because, once we have rejected ourselves, we force others to reject us too. They cannot do anything else other than what we have already done to ourselves.
God's grace is always freely available. However, our own attempts to cover up our shame before Him and the world are a rejection of any help that God can give us.

The covering up of shame is a justification of the weakness in the soul. As long as our shame is covered up, we will not let go of the weakness. Only those whose sickness is laid bare can be healed.
The covering of shame is actually pride wrapped up in wrinkled rags. Where there is pride, there is a rejection of the transforming power of grace.

So many evils have happened in our world as result of people wanting to cover up shame in the souls.  
Isn't it time we laid bare before God and life the shame that we have covered so long? It is open before God in any case. It is an illusion of pride that makes us think we have it covered.

When we give up hiding weakness, we become aware of acceptance. Acceptance in spite of. This acceptance is not from ourselves, because we never could accept our own weakness. It must come from another source.
Grace appears with the power of acceptance, saying "You are accepted"2 . As you are. Unbelievable! In that ecstatic moment we don't know what to say because the words did not come from where we expected they would come. 

Maybe we expected the church to say it, but it didn't. Maybe we expected our husbands or wives to say it, but they didn't. Our lovers and families, but they didn't. Instead, someone whom we least knew comes with a message of acceptance that we so needed to hear!

When we embrace the message of acceptance in grace, that is faith. It is faith because there is no assurance from our normal pillars that we have grown used to. The church, loved ones, friends, may continue to reject us, and we only have the words of acceptance to hold on to.
One feels completely understood in just these three words 'It is OK', in spite of the weak fraud that one is. It can't be explained in words, but wounds start healing, one at a time. An unseen hand dresses them and binds them up. 

We are not asked to change a thing so far. All we can ever do is cling to the acceptance by someone unseen and unknown. "There is now someone in the world who knows my biggest weakness and failure, yet thinks I am OK. I can live!"3
Life takes a different shape. Everything becomes new. One starts to get more messages from the simple things of everyday life. Whenever one is alone, reading, walking in the park, or running along, jogging in the street. Messages come to help answer life's most difficult questions.

Grace works in our souls at the root of what caused us shame. Something we may even have not been aware of. The shame is burned away into joy and love. Love for God is the same as love for life and love for our own selves.4

Gratitude flows from the soul that has been healed by grace. Love as genuine and spontaneous. We then don't need the Bible anymore to tell us to do good. It flows from the love that is now within the soul.
The path to self-acceptance begins with the power of acceptance found in God's amazing grace.
1. Maslow, Abraham. Toward A Psychology Of Being. Blacksburg: Wilder Publications, Inc, 2011.
2. John 8:11
3. John 4:29
4. Tillich, Paul. New Being. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955. http://www.religiononline.