Looking under the carpet   Leave a comment

For the past few weeks I have been preaching on the subject of temptation under the title of “Short Cuts.” In recognizing my own capacity for “yielding” to the pervasive and persistent nature of temptation I observed what I chose to call Level 2 Temptation. This is the human propensity to respond to our yielding by sweeping all remembrance of the matter under the proverbial carpet in the hope that it will be forever erased from the memory.. The principle driving forces behind Level 2 Temptation are shame and guilt. These are first evidenced in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve go from being “naked, but they felt no shame” Genesis 2:25 to “suddenly feeling shame”  Genesis 3:7 (both NLT). This realization triggers the desire to hide and is followed by the assignment of blame by all those involved. This all falls under the overall category of attempting to sweep under the carpet. Tragically however the collection of things we keep under the carpet become arguably the most debilitating and destructive part of our lives. It has been said that we are only as healthy as our secrets and it is under the carpet that most if not all our secrets are hidden.

My understanding of this was greatly illuminated recently when Maggie and I had the privilege of attending the Global Leadership Summit. One of the sessions was lead by Dr Brene Brown, a research professor in social work from Houston. The main thrust of her work has been on the subjects of vulnerability and shame and her TED talks* on the subject are compelling (evidenced by the millions of viewings they have received).  Dr Brown points out that guilt is the knowledge that you have done something bad but that shame is the overwhelming conviction that as a consequence you are bad. The answer, she suggests very persuasively, is vulnerability, the willingness to courageously turn over the carpet and deal with those festering secrets in a loving, safe and nonjudgmental environment.

Is there any greater challenge to the church family than to be such an environment? The word of God makes it clear that Jesus has provided the answer for guilt since, “when we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” 1 John 1:9 and the statement “if we are in Christ we are a new creation” deals directly with shame. So how can we seek to be this place of safety? Primarily I believe, we must be willing to be open and vulnerable ourselves. Take the courage to turn over our carpets and encourage and support each other in the process. The fewer secrets we have, the healthier a community we become. When we are honest with our struggles, we give people freedom to be honest about theirs. Healing and change only happen when things are brought into the light Loving, emotional health is one of the most attractive characteristics of individuals and their communities. Jesus’ death and resurrection have given us the hope that deals with guilt and shame. Let’s experience it ourselves and offer it to one another and resist Level 2 Temptation- keeping our carpets free from clutter!


(* This is the link I promised in the sermon “Carpet or ConfessIon”)

Posted August 22, 2013 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

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