Have I lost you yet?
Walk with me through a word picture that can aid us in bringing our emotions and behaviors into focus.
Let’s begin with a few definitions.
Conviction: Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit where a person is able to see himself as God sees him. Conviction in the believer brings an awareness of sin and results in repentance, confession, and cleansing.
This is the goal! But it isn’t easy to find and walk out, but it is possible and the results are beautiful. It’s connection and restoration, it’s perspective and joy, it’s true community and the fruit of maturity, which is grace and peace.
Shame: Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. – Brene Brown
Judgment: Strong’s Concordance notes that the word translated “judge” in Matthew 7:1 can also mean “condemn.” Judgment elevates the estimation of yourself at the cost of the degradation of someone else.
When shame comes to visit it can be as overwhelming as a raging ocean. The pull of the undercurrent grabbing you into the tumultuous deep. The waves violently tossing you back and forth with a vengeance and your insecurities are cold waves crashing over your head. Making you grasp for breath in a state of panic as your separated from your people and feeling overwhelmingly alone and vulnerable. Shame leaves you feeling weak with the exhaustion of trying to find hope that you’re not as bad or worthless as you feel. Shame lies to you and says that people you care about are standing on the shore with life savers, and they don’t want to waste one on you. Shame keeps you too exhausted to overcome the temptations in your life and with every concession, you return to it’s punishing grip.
In an effort to break free from Shame’s grasp, we run into the forest of JUDGEMENT. All of a sudden our vision is obscured by the density of trees and we believe that it’s everyone else’s fault that we are experiencing this negative feeling or situation. Judgment walks around finding blame in everything and everyone and justifying its own selfish actions. We run from tree to tree saying, “it’s your fault, it’s your fault”. It’s dark in this forest and there is not clarity of thought, just the twists and turns of anger and frustration as you trip on roots systems of old trees and keep looking to blame everything in sight while excusing and condoning your own actions.
Neither situation will ever bring us freedom for only the truth will set us free.
Now imagine with you there are two mountains with a very long bridge between the North and South mountain. On the left is the sea of Shame and on the right is the Forest of Judgment.
This wooden bridge does not have much to hold on to so you must not lose your balance. It’s high enough for you to have complete perspective as to where you would fall, and what would happen if you did. It will take courage to choose this path and you must face your fear to get to the other side. You know that you don’t want to be churned around in the wild sea of insecurity & shame or running around in angry frustration in the forest of judgment.
To walk along the bridge of conviction you must go slow enough to keep your perspective set on truth and to walk in enough humility of spirit to know both your worth and the truth. You must own what you need to own and remember that you can only control yourself. You are empowered to extend grace to others and an apology if necessary. Here is where lessons are learned and wisdom is earned.
Not many people find the bridge of conviction. It leads to redemption and very few choose it because it takes courage and maturity to get to the other side. You must pass through fear’s painful grasp and not allow the manipulation of anger to control you. It is a worthy endeavor and believers in Jesus Christ must allow the Spirit of God to guide us to the bridge and hear his whispers of encouragement all along the way.
Wisdom awaits us.
The power of God
Peace beyond understanding
Love without borders
Goodness and perspective
Kindness and joy
Wholeness and holiness
Just a few of the treasures that are on the other side of the bridge of conviction.