Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: shame

Don’t Let Shame to Rewrite Your Story

Shame is defined as a painful feeling of distress and humiliation caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.  The Bible illustrates shame immediately following Adam and Eve breaking God’s only rule, “do not eat from the tree of knowledge,” Genesis 2:16-17.  This couple responded to shame by hiding from God, ashamed of what they have just done.

Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; and they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden, Genesis 3:7-8.

The human conscience is like a built in GPS device for morality.  When an act of kindness are performed, helpful hands extend a word of encouragement which results in a sense of warmth to my soul.  Yet, whenever my own mouth spits out poison, guilt strikes me like an invisible punch in the gut.  When bad outweighs the good, shame alters your mood and influences your mind.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work], Hebrews 12:1-2.

One of the ways this is accomplished is through ungodly beliefs instilled within you by family, friends and peers.  Words such as “you’re not good enough and you’ll never amount to anything” serve as wounds to the soul.  If these ungodly beliefs aren’t replaced by godly beliefs from the Bible, shame will rewrite your story.  The consequences of shame could be eternal.  Therefore, if you are tired of hiding from God, reach out to Jesus who disregarded shame by enduring the cross and rising from the dead.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

Following the Voice of Temptation

At some point in the next 24 hours, it will happened to you.  No one is immune to this mystery guest.  While the exact circumstance, situation and time is unknown, the voice of temptation shows up unannounced.  Sometimes you might feel its presence with an impulse, grab your attention with a lustful sight or lure you away with an enticing whisper.  Either way if you’re not ready for her it might not be long before you start following the voice of temptation.

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword, Proverbs 5:3-4.

King Solomon refers to this voice as the adulterous woman, promising ecstasy but delivering heartache.  Unfortunately, the rush of adrenaline tends to take individuals from maybe to when can I start to taste the temporary pleasures of life.  Those without a backbone, curious or hanging out by the fence line are usually the first to engage these voices.  Perhaps, Solomon is comparing temptation to some of the beautiful woman he couldn’t resist marrying or engaging in sexual fantasies.  Before he could stop, 1000 woman had him wrapped around their fingers.

Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it, Proverbs 5:5-6.

When morning arrives, emptiness, guilt and shame often follow those who listen to the voice of temptation.  Unless you can snap out of this sinful state, destruction await all those who continue to visit this mistress.  Those that hit rock bottom find themselves facing addiction, bad habits and a heart craving for a quick fix, a temporary high before this vicious cycle repeats itself.  If this blog finds you somewhere in this entangled web of deception, cry out to the Lord, confess any wrong doings, purge your life from any reminders of this voice and enter into accountability relationships so that you can come clean once and for all.  Hold on by committing yourself to Bible memorization to break free from these chains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

If You Rush To Judgement… Someone’s Life Might Be Ruined

After watching a rerun of ESPN’s 30 for 30, Fantastic Lies, I received a new perspective.  During this documentary, I missed an important statement the first time around.  One of the journalists who believed the Duke Lacrosse players raped an African America woman provided an insightful comment.  When asked about why the nation felt like these three players were guilty, he responded, “If you air opinions over and over again in the media, these fantastic lies become fact.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4.

This observation applies to our daily life.  Every day blogs, cable news networks and news papers publish exaggerations, take comments out of context or with hold information to make liberals look great and portray conservatives as liars.  This rush to judgment often ruins the lives of those who receive negative press.  Just examine or do a fact check of political ads and you’ll find a willful attempt to smear their opponents.

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, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

The apostle Paul speaks of a moment when you have the chance to decide “do I do the right or wrong thing?”  At this place in time, Paul learned that you don’t always have to give into temptation.  Rather, the Lord does provide an escape route, an option that does not lead to guilt, shame or regret.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to condemn, trash or verbally assault an individual’s character, ask the Lord for discernment.  Or else your quick rush to judgement may result in the demise of a strangers reputation.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Long Road to Hope

The long road to hope begins with suffering.  Following the aftermath of original sin detailed in Genesis 3, a cursed was placed on this earth.  God’s creation of His perfect world was ruined, leading to a life of disappointment, frustration and suffering.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; Romans 8:3.

Despite the pain often inflicted, individuals have something to look forward to the longer you walk down this road.  While your ego and pride may take a beating, glimmers of hope surface along the way.  Thus, when the sun breaks through the clouds, maturity is not that far away.

Perseverance, character; and character, hope, Romans 8:4.

If you hang in there long enough, a sense of hope comes into focus.  Beyond whatever self pity remains, God’s love still shines, radiating day after day.  When you don’t have the strength to take another step, a spirit is sent by your side to lead you to the end of this road.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, Romans 5:5.

The best way to describe God is like the scene in the Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy and her friends have been poisoned by a wicked witch, causing each to drift off to sleep, suddenly halting their journey.  Yet, snow is sent to awaken everyone so that they reach their final destination.  The Holy Spirit plays a similar role, the invisible force to help us persevere on the long road to hope.

by Jay Mankus

 

Better Off Dead

In 1985, John Cusack starred in Better Off Dead.  While this movie would be considered politically incorrect today for making fun of suicide, some high schools are now using this film in Sociology classes.  The idea for the title is based upon lonely and suicidal individuals who think that it would be better if they were dead.  The rationale is that killing yourself will make those who never noticed your existence feel bad through guilt and shame.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds, John 12:24.

This concept also applies to the first century.  Sometimes in the late 20’s, early 30’s AD, Jesus began to share God’s grand design to his disciples.  Essentially, Jesus would be better off dead, needing to die once and for all, for all sin.  This message didn’t go over well as in the back of their minds, the disciples thought Jesus would become an earthly king.  Perhaps, this confusion and disappointment with Jesus might explain their actions following his betrayal and death.  John was the only disciple who wasn’t afraid to be seen with or associated with Jesus.  Beside Judas Iscariot who thought he would be better off dead, committing suicide, the other remaining ten men went into hiding.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life, John 12:25.

Since Jesus spoke in parables, only the discerning were able to figure out the point Jesus was trying to make.  Maybe John was the only one who understood the kernel analogy.  Nonetheless, the Bible exists today so that we can be certain of this life and the afterlife.  So if you too are fearful or worried about dying, remember you have to pass before you can be reunited with believers who have already entered the grave.  In case you’re still up in the air, make your reservation for heaven today, 1 John 5:13.  When you do, you might come around to embracing the notion of being better off dead.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Waiting for a New Name

Benedict Arnold, John Wilkes Booth and Bernie Madoff are names associated with a negative connotation.  Poor choices in life led each to develop a bad reputation.  Unfortunately, when individuals commit an unwholesome act, many are unable to break free from the consequences of actions.  Thus, even today, many are waiting for a new name.

Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children, Genesis 32:11.

Once formed in high school or college, infamous nicknames can haunt people for years.  Indecent acts may result in being labeled as easy, loose or a whore.  Those who tend to exaggerate become known as liars, losing the trust of their peers.  While a few may be able to alter this stigma, most are stuck with the shame of their past.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome,” Genesis 32:28.

In Genesis 32, Jacob has an encounter with God.  Known as cunning, a deceiver and for being a momma’s boy, the Lord knew this character would not be a positive influence going forward to lead his chosen people.  Thus, following a night of wrestling, Jacob held on for dear life, earning him the name Israel.  In the same manner, those who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10, are given a fresh start.  Therefore, if you’re waiting for a new name, hit the reset button today to receiving the free gift of eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Balancing Faith With Reality

My weekly routine includes time with a former co-worker reflecting on our years in Christian education.  While each discussion varies, one topic usually comes to the forefront, what impact did we have on our former students?  Did the lessons taught inspire faith or has the reality of a lost world caused souls to back slide?  Unfortunately, news of partying in college, suicides and students having kids out of wedlock has taken the wind out of our sails.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, Romans 5:5.

Out of sight out of mind is a common occurrence for Christians who leave the friendly confines of biblical education for a secular environment.  Perhaps, the foundations I once thought were firm was merely a mirage.  Then again, maybe I was naive, trying to make everyone feel good about life instead of challenging individuals to take a stand.  Time will sift the wheat from the chaff, yet as a teacher turned writer, I still struggle with balancing faith with reality.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly, Romans 5:6.

Since I joined Facebook 3 years ago, I’ve had former students and youth de-friend me based upon words in this blog.  At times, I may be perceived as over the top, out there or out of touch with reality.  Nonetheless, as I study the book of Acts, I am reminded of the only force on this planet which can still transform souls.  Sure, there are many things in the Bible that don’t make sense, but without the power of the Holy Spirit Peter, James and John would have returned to their fishing boats and the message of Jesus would have disappeared.  Therefore, as I continue to learn how to balance faith with reality, I cling to the promises in the Bible of an abundant life, where victory is not smothered by defeat.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: