Tuesday, I shared that the practice of giving something up between now and Easter or Resurrection Sunday, came from the suffering and temptations Jesus made as he prepared for the ultimate sacrifice He would make for us all.
It has been put upon my heart to deeply explore this Lenten season with a focus on forgiveness and becoming more penitent. Not an entirely new idea, but as I often do, I’m holding myself to some higher standards. The exercise I am doing, and inviting you to take part in as well, is “Lenten Letters”.
On this edition of “Becoming Today” we’ll be connecting the dots between two things I really need to give up once and for all! Today I’m taking my concerns right to the top…
We’ve talked about this many times yet I am still struggling with the issue. Yes I have found freedom from it, however it seems those releases have been fleeting. So I ask today to explain to me why releasing guilt is so hard?
I understand it’s an emotion. A feeling. Something that at times that can be a warning when we’ve taken missteps, however it seems to really grip me at times.
Is it just this way for me?
Unfortunately too many times I see examples of those who have truly offended others, committed wrong actions and caused harm that show no signs of feeling guilt. They seem unrepentant, often boasting of their actions. I’m not judging here Lord, rather making an observation, in an attempt to understand the disconnect.
I truly want to better accept the reasons why I feel so strongly and others appear to just be able to ignore it. Not that I’m looking for excuses, rather a more cognizant and compassionate way of reaching out to those who differ on this idea.
Help me to interpret what I can do to better communicate with them as well helping my mind consciously embrace my heart and stop making me accept guilt where it is not needed or often even implied.
What do I need to do today to give up guilt again?
Lord, I know that the problem with guilt I struggle with often stems from a sense of shame. Another area you have wisely stewarded me through for decades.
Beginning with some of my earliest memories a sense of shame was drilled into me, and I allowed it to remain until I finally found a way to forgive.
To forgive those who had done me wrong. Those who had abused and harmed me. Those who had falsely labeled me, indoctrinated me into a false belief that ‘you can never do that’, ‘no one from here could even try that’, ‘you’ll always be an embarrassment, and even the repeated reminders that I ‘was an accident’.
Through your guidance and wisdom after a long battle I learned that the shame I had chosen to carry wasn’t even mine.
And while many of those whose shame I had taken on, were no longer in this realm I still had to forgive them. Not for them. Not that they deserved it. Rather for me. For me to be free of these burdens, chains and restrictions.
As you know when the inspiration finally broke through I began by writing a letter to my mother though there was no where I could mail it. So as I went outside and read it aloud, I then fully released the pain by dropping it into the BBQ grill and as the smoke rose I immediately felt the weight lift.
Cathartic. Healing and saving. Suddenly it was gone and I felt so much better and was free to move on in so many areas of my personal becoming.
Still on occasion I find myself slipping. That shame creeps back into my mind though it no longer resides in my heart. Help me Lord, to connect the dots and give up guilt and shame not only for Lent, but also to let it go for once and all.
In asking I know I will receive my answers.
Thank you Lord. I believe in you Lord. I love you Lord. I trust you Lord.
I am remaining unconditionally faithful in Jesus’ name, Amen!
I know I will find the solace I am seeking as I am truly making a commitment to give up these emotions of guilt and shame tied to past experiences. I’ll share what is revealed and the lessons I learn, when the answers arrive.
In the meantime here are some Scriptures I’ll be meditating on today, as I wait patiently for that small still voice within to speak clearly to me, for me and through me.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.”
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
I hope these verses find those who need them. Also I am again encouraging you to consider doing your own exercise. Whether in a journal, a document, video diary or scribbled on the back of a receipt just select whatever form you feel most comfortable with.
Plus just because I’ll be doing them daily, you don’t need to, just set your own standards and goals as for the frequency.
You could also opt to share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section. Which if you’re on the website follows below. Or if you’re a daily subscriber, you can click on the headline at the beginning of the conversation and be taken.
Also if you’d like to raise questions or share in a less public manner, you can always send a message through our Contact page.
Think about it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. Consider it and then decide to join us for another Lenten Letter, tomorrow on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.