How God's Love Changes Us: Part 1- Overcoming Shame & Self-Contempt

Day 6 of 7 • This day’s reading


It is interesting that rather than weeping at the feet of his father, the younger son says, “Make me your servant!” Which might have been a safer posture for the son: repenting and allowing his heart to break in the presence of his father, or condemning himself in the presence of his father in an attempt to appear repentant? Which decision would have kept his heart from being broken open Judging himself might have been far less painful, far less vulnerable than facing his longing for connection and reentering a loving relationship with his father. The stories that bear the most fear and shame hold the most power and control over our lives.

In order to honor our bodies and heal stories of shame, we must give the reality of spiritual warfare the credit it deserves. Our bodies are the front lines for good and evil, and we must first uncover how shame is lodged within our bodies so we can reclaim them back from the evil one. What if fighting evil means blessing and praying for each body part that holds shame, asking God to increase your loving-kindness toward it? To journey toward change, we must first make a commitment to become advocates for ourselves. To speak words of life to oneself is to join God’s delight over His creation.

We tend to read the parable of the prodigal son as a story of sin, repentance, and restoration. But what if reading the parable as a sin story doesn’t go far enough? In what ways does the parable preach the gospel to our deep-seated shame over the wrongs we have done and the wrongs done to us, including the ones we do to ourselves? What if God doesn’t want to just restore us from our sin, but also deliver us from our shame? The prodigal’s father wanted nothing more than the restoration of his relationship with his son. Rather than shame him upon his return, he showered him with holy kindness. We are called to do the same to our shame-bound souls.

Where are you now in your experience of God’s welcoming love?

What can you do to invite it in until it displaces self-contempt?