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No, no, no, no, don’t worry.  I’m not about to confess anything nor do I have anything to confess.  That would be much more cut and dry than what is on my heart today.  What I am dealing with is much more subtle and slippery.  It’s something that affects and effects us all.  You don’t have to be a parent or pastor to have to deal with this.

If you listen to my latest sermon (#6 on the dropdown “listen” page on this site) I speak at length (though not too long) about shame and condemnation.  Condemnation and more specifically self condemnation is ONE of the byproducts of being hurt.  It is also one of the devil’s top tools to discourage and defeat the believer (or anyone for that matter).  It started in the garden of Eden and continues any and everywhere to this very day.

In its most simplest form something bad happens and beyond feeling guilty let alone convicted we feel shame or condemnation.  You’re not saying that it’s your fault, you’re actually saying that you don’t deserve the good thing in the first place…you are not worthy.   You can’t expect yourself to do better.  You wallow in self doubt/self blame/even self pity.

Perhaps you don’t identify with this at all.  Good for you.  However, you most likely deal with other issues (we all struggle with something).  You might have some anger issues, guilt hang ups, fear, or some combination of all of the above.  The origins of all of these lie in unresolved hurts.  Read more about that here, and here.

So, as we headed into a very long and somehow unbelievably short summer, Rachel and I talked about being proactive rather than horrifically reactive.  We certainly and simply don’t want it to be August and we are cramming in a trip to Kennywood, Idlewild, the zoo, the Children’s Museum, etc.  However, there is something much more important that I want to avoid.

If we don’t have a regular weekly schedule set up, if we don’t have clear expectations heading into each day then I will go to my standard self condemnation default mode of negative emotional reactions.  Here’s how it happens.  If I choose to stay home and be a “good” parent I will feel like a terrible pastor.  However, if I go and spend some time at the office and get work done I will end up feeling like a terrible parent.  It would be amazing (however, not perfect) if I felt like a good parent when I chose to stay home and felt like a good pastor when I was at work.  Sadly, I’m not wired that way.

Let me now make something abundantly clear.  I KNOW that I am a good parent.  I’m quite sure that I am and will be an even better pastor.  Cognitively I get it.  However I, historically and to this day, don’t feel that way.  What’s nice is that over the years I have found a way to get ahead of the self condemnation.  While I am still chipping away at the hurts that lead to this I can make sure I don’t fall victim to it.  Managing it, though, is only dealing with the ramifications of the hurts.  Processing and attaching comfort to the hurts is the only real solution to the overall self condemnation.

The really sad part is when you are not aware of any of this.  You “feel” the way you do then an external event happens where someone or something makes itself evident that you, in fact, are not great at one thing or another and that fuels that condemnation to a whole new level.  It has introduced another hurt which compounds and attaches itself to the historical hurts leaving you even more vulnerable to the destructive reaction you have to being hurt.

If you listen to my sermon, God is quite clear that for those who have accepted Jesus’ death and resurrection as payment for all of their sins that there is no condemnation coming your/their way from him.  There isn’t even shame.  Please remember though, your feelings don’t listen to scripture.

Again, this is not a “woe is me” post.  It’s a call to action.  It’s a call to dealing with my (and for you…YOUR) hurts.  They are real, they have left scars, they do impact you each and every day.  You can do it.  You should do it.  I will continue to show you how.   Don’t stay “there” and get beat up.  Live as He intended you to live.  Free and clear and without the burdens that slow you down.

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