Forgiveness and Shame

Forgiveness and Shame


  • What if our individual sins are not really the problem?
  • What if the real problem for us is how others see us, whether they think we are good or bad?
  • What is our response? How can I do better?  (recent examples)

Bible – Adam and Eve 

  • From the start they were perfectly loved by God and perfectly loved each other.  They could look at each other in the face.
  • Then – “You will be like God”  You can do better by yourself
  • …knowing good and evil.  You know good, you will now know evil
Genesis 3:6-9
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
  • What was the better? Nothing.  The only change was they saw evil. Apart from God and apart from each other.
  • Fellowship with God became dreaded. What happened to, “I can do better by myself?”
  • Concern moved from loved by God to what do others think of me.
  • We never did better but instead received justice.


  • Look into the face of Jesus. Only with you can I do better.
  • See how vulnerable he is to evil.  Evil killed him, God raised him.
  • See his love for you (not what others think of you). worm + god
  • See how others think of him. (how he died)
  • See how he understands you. God’s insistence on reconciliation.


  • Prodigal son- critical neighbors, child/slave, not a parable
  • Yellow ribbon.
  • God’s insistence on reconciliation.

‘God Knows’ Minnie Louise Haskins

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown”.

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”.

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.