We kicked off our “VS.— The Battle is Won” Series with Part 1, “Guilt VS. Shame. These two words are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different in their meaning.
Guilt is from God and can benefit us. Guilt tells us that we did something wrong or messed up. Shame is from Satan and tells us that we are messed up. God views us as a treasure created in his image, but shame tells us that we are worthless because we did something wrong.
We looked at the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:2-11NIV,
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The religious elite were using this lady to try and trap Jesus: If Jesus has her stoned then he discredits his message of love and grace, and if he forgives her then he goes against the Law and excuses her sin.
Notice how Jesus responds. He doesn’t excuse the sin this lady was caught in and guilty of. After he shows the crowd that none of them are as righteous as they claimed to be he asks her where her accusers are. When she says they are all gone his message is simple— “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He tells her she is guilty, but encourages her to live her life for God and leave her life of sin.
We used a funny, yet powerful illustration to help get the point crossed with shaving cream and Cheetos. We put A LOT of shaving cream on one of our students face. Then, we threw cheese balls at to see how many we could get to stick in the shaving cream. The cheese balls represented guilt. When we allow Satan to make us feel ashamed, we carry all of our mistakes and insecurities around with us. Instead of drawing closer to God, we allow our feeling of shame to make us feel unworthy of being used by God and actually end up drifting farther away from him.
After Luke’s face was filled with cheeseballs, we wiped all of the shaving cream off of his face and threw cheeseballs at his face again. Without the shaving cream the cheeseballs simply bounced off of his face. The same is true in our lives when we allow God to take away our shame. We leave our life of sin behind and find healing and freedom in Christ.
After the message we split into our small groups to unpack the lesson on a deeper level. We also did a group activity to help us see ourselves as God sees us. The youth sat one at a time in front of the whiteboard while the rest of the group wrote something positive about them on the board behind them. The person sitting in front of the board then turned around to read what was said about them. This was a simple, yet powerful activity that helped everyone to look at themselves from a different perspective.
Have a great week and we hope to see you for part two, “Abstinence VS. Purity”, this Sunday (3/20/16)!