Shame and guilt are the two feelings that cling on people who have fallen from respectable positions of influence. Shame and guilt are the twin offspring of sin; their goal is to drag us down and steal our voice of influence and impact until we look at ourselves as worthless.
Shame creates a sense of worthlessness in you and guilt a sense of condemnation. When these two negative forces apprehend a man they keep him on the edge of defeat perpetually; its aim is to stop him from rising.
When Adam fell into sin he began to run when he heard the voice of the Lord, God’s voice of holiness made him go into hiding. When God asked, “Adam where are you?” he said, “I heard your voice and I hid myself because I was naked.”
Sin awakens a man into nakedness which makes him run from light for fear that others may see him.
EXPOSED BY LIGHT
Hiding from our nakedness will never set us free from shame and guilt; neither will what we think others may say about our nakedness set us free. We are only set free when we acknowledged our nakedness and decide not to hide but allow the light expose and heal us. When we begin to think about what will people say when they hear I have fallen into this and that sin will make us go into hiding.
When we become overly concerned about the shame that our sin has caused and we live in the continuous guilt of it we will abnegate God’s grace that forgives and restores.
REFUSING TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
When we refuse to forgive ourselves we have simply demean the power of the Cross and the grace it brings to set us free. It is a known fact that men judge more critically than God. When people fall others believe that the only way to show you have repented is the refusal to forgive yourself; that is an affront on the Cross.
You cannot overcome shame until you have first forgiven yourself. Husbands who have been caught in the sin of adultery and have repent and restored by God’s grace may find themselves unable to face their wives even after their wives have even forgiven them; because they see themselves as not worthy of receiving the forgiveness.
Forgiving yourself must precede your expecting to receive forgiveness from others; otherwise you will become a slave to man’s opinion; relying on their approval before regaining your sense of worth.
When we sin and fall short we must first and foremost run to the Lord to receive the forgiveness that he offers and allow his blood cleanse and wash us; after which we must forgive ourselves. That means accepting that God has forgiven you and has no record of your sin. This will help you escape the trap of shame and guilt Satan wants to web you into.
WHAT ARE THEY THINKING OF ME?
I want to help you get a vivid understanding of what I am talking about by painting this picture in your mind. When a man of reputable influence is caught in a sinful act and loses his credibility and position of influence. He suffers from the repercussion of his sin which is shame and guilt. Shame asks you the question, “What are they thinking of me?” While guilt answers the question with, “Right now they think you are a hypocrite, they think you are a fake… and so many other negative suggestions.
The apostle Paul understood that people can fall and other people can become critical about them so he write this solemn words, “Who are you to criticize someone else's servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. The servant will be successful because the Lord makes him successful” (Rom 14:4 GW).
SAMSON LOST HIS SIGHT NOT HIS MINISTRY
The great Samson a man anointed by the spirit of God threw away everything to Delilah a woman who provided him sexual passion. How do you think Samson felt after he had his eyes gash out? He must have fallen into the pit of shame and guilt; considering the fact that he became a puppet for the Philistines. The man born to be a deliverer ended up a captive. Delilah was not Samson’s real enemy she was only a trap an agent the Philistine was his real enemy. The enemy will send a Delilah into all of our lives when we are doing a great work for the Lord.
The Lord forgave Samson when he asked him for mercy.
And Samson, crying out to the Lord, said, O Lord God, do have me now in mind, and do make me strong only this once, O God, so that I may take one last payment from the Philistines for my two eyes (Judges 16:28).
The consequence of Samson’s sin is that he lost his sight not his ministry; but unfortunately he never returned to his ministry. However, losing your sight is worse than losing your ministry. Losing your sight is a symbolic meaning for losing your ability to function in that ministry. Sin is not just after your ministry but your sight; because when it gets your sight you may never return to that ministry and impact lives.
The book of Hebrew chapter 11 is the Bible hall of fame that lists the hero’s of faith. Surprisingly we find Samson’s name is listed among those who accomplished something great for God. In the mind of God he is a celebrated hero. When we fall and lose our sight we don’t end in Heaven’s fall of fame because there is no such record in Heaven but in Heaven’s hall of fame. God never seizes to celebrate us.
What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about… Samson…
Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms (Hebrews 11:32).
What do I mean? After he asked for God’s mercy he was forgiven but never returned alive to do what he was born to do. When we fall at the peak of our ministry it could be more disastrous than when we fall at the point of entering into ministry like Peter.
HOW PETER OVERCAME HIS SHAME & GUILT
Peter boasted before Jesus, “I will die for you; I will never deny you even if these ones (the disciples) deny you.” Later that day he denied knowing Jesus three times, with swearing and cursing before a little girl.
The other disciples must have felt disappointed that their so called acclaim hero was a scare rabbit. Peter must have said in his heart, “How can I ever stand and preach before these ones again, will they ever listen to me?”
Peter’s failure quickly made him see himself as lacking the credibility to face the other disciples. Yet the greatest message in human history was to come through his lips. Those who refused to listen to Peter’s message because of his failure will inadvertently forfeit what God has packaged for them through the life of Peter.
It was not the positive opinion of people about Peter that healed him; rather it was his deep knowing that Jesus had forgiven and restored him. Let’s read the account in John 20:5-19:
Jesus therefore said to them, "Children, have you anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." They cast it therefore, and now they weren't able to draw it in for the multitude of fish.
That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord!" So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around him (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea.
But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away), dragging the net full of fish.
So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.
Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."
Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three; and even though there were so many, the net wasn't torn.
Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." None of the disciples dared inquire of him, "Who are you?" knowing that it was the Lord.
Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead. So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you have affection for me?" Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, "Do you have affection for me?" He said to him, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Most assuredly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don't want to go."
Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. When he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."
EMBRACING GOD’S FORGIVENESS
The authority for our restoration lies in our receiving God’s forgiveness and not just in a letter of recommendation from a church that we are quality to preach, even though that is necessary and must be sought. God’s forgiveness and restoration is what makes us fit again to minister to others after we have fallen into sin. Peter never preached a sermon or wrote an epistle about his sin of denial of Christ because Jesus forgiveness dealt with it. Nothing compels us to talk about issues Calvary has handle we must move on.
The safe proof guard against the trap of shame and guilt is in embracing God’s forgiveness. A deep knowing that we have been forgiven and restored by the Lord is the foundation for returning back into ministry; once Peter knew this people’s opinion about his past failure never moved him. On the day of Pentecost, Luke recorded in Acts 2 that he stood and preached and four thousand was saved. Amazing! What if the shame and guilt of his past sin had clued him on his sit? Or on his knee still praying, “Are mine worthy?” Nobody would have been saved! Rather Peter embraced God’s forgiveness and moved past his mistake. Have you moved past your mistake? Or are you still in the trap of shame and guilt? Its time to be set free… Get on your kneel ask for God’s forgiveness accept it and embrace it, then forgive yourself; after which you ask for the forgiveness of the people you have hurt by your mistake. However, remember it is the knowing that the Lord has forgiven you that count the most!!!