Our enemy, the great deceiver, the father of lies—he tries to convince us that whatever we’ve done is just so big and so bad, so different and so much worse, that it can never be fixed or forgiven or redeemed.
This sin and this shame—and they have to go.
Because, when sin remains and shame stays, bad things will follow. We get stuck, isolated, overwhelmed when sin is ignored and rationalized and denied because of shame.
But let me ask you this: Do you believe that sin and shame can go?
Sometimes our sin and shame have been with for us so long, it’s hard to believe that they’re not going to be with us for the rest of our lives—that they haven’t become fixtures of our identities.
In his book The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis wrote about a man who had struggled with a particular sin for a long time—so long, in fact, that he no longer believed God could help him. In some ways, he no longer wanted God to help him. He’d come to doubt God, to fear Him, actually—because, though this man may have hated his struggle, he believed it had become a part of him, part of his identity. So, when God, through an angel, offered restoration, the man himself feels threatened and resists—at first, at least.
In the allegory, Lewis depicted sin as a red lizard sitting on the this man’s shoulder, whispering lies into his ear. The very presence of the lizard is disgusting and disturbing to us as readers—and no doubt to this character Lewis created too. But the man had given the lizard access for a long time. He’d allowed the lizard to spin his lies for a long time. And so the man had become confused. The lizard’s presence had become familiar to him. The man began to have a hard time distinguishing truth from falsehood; friend from foe. He has a hard time trusting that allowing God to destroy the lizard would mean freedom, and not death for him, too.
When we allow sin and shame to linger, you and I are just like this man—believing that the way we’ve chosen, the way without Jesus, is somehow best for us. We begin to manage and bargain and justify and excuse our sin. And we begin to believe that it’s somehow okay for our sin and shame to remain—for a bit longer, at least. And so we give sin and shame more and more access to our lives. And they whisper more and more . . . and our confusion grows—and so does our separation from God.
Come and listen to “The Transformation of Sin, Shame & Pride.”