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Whose Voice?

Katy, Rachel & Victoria

Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
                                                           —Romans 8:39b (CEV)

wall of shame FTR TSP 179253688 copyListen for the Voice of Love

We all know the voices. When we mess up, the voice of guilt drags us down with the weight of our failures. The voice of shame whispers in our ear, “How could you?”—teasing our hearts until we feel worthless and undeserving of love. The voices of guilt and shame are not the voice of God.

I’ve heard the parable of the prodigal son more times than I can count; but recently, the Spirit revealed it to me in a way that opened my eyes and set me free from the tiresome cycle of feeling guilty and ashamed. In the story (Luke 15:11–24), a father greets his runaway son with an eager embrace and throws him a welcome-home party. The father never asks the son for an apology or even for an explanation. Not once does the father say, “I told you so.” Not once does he make his son describe the wrong he’s done. Instead, the father invites his son to a celebration. The son doesn’t need to feel guilt or shame. He is invited simply to say “Yes” and to hug his father back. God asks us to do the same. Our God is not a God of guilt, but of love. Nothing we do can make our heavenly Father stop loving us.

—Katy Steele, 22

Welcome God’s Forgiveness

Dear Father,
I stop and marvel that I can call you “Father” and that you claim me as your child. Shame tells me that I am a flaw, an error, a problem. But who I am comes from you. What I say and believe about myself reflects what I say and believe about you. I know you are good. I know you are wonderful. I know that your personality, your make-up, is the source of who and what I am. Still, I wrestle with guilt that is vague, dark, and oppressive. All I know is that I am not enough. I do not have enough. I do not understand enough. I suspect I do everything wrong. But I hear you saying that you do not oppress with guilt. Rather, you turn with conviction and heal with repentance. Shame is not a tool you use. How could you? You are God. Self-hatred is a sin against you.

sunrise praise2 TSP 452255111 copyWhen your voice is clear and shows me where I have gone wrong and how I must turn, I welcome it and thank you for the voice of your Spirit, setting me free. When the voice is vague or tells me I am worthless, useless, and shameful, I recognize it as another: the voice of one who comes “to rob, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10, CEV).

Father, I will believe, love, and welcome you. I reject all other voices.
Your Child

—Rachel Starr Thomson

 

DIG DEEPER

heart of light2 TSP 101859526 copyLive in God’s Promise

I struggle with forgiving myself. I’m hard on myself. I have a habit of replaying my mistakes over and over again in my head. Yet, God tells me that my mistakes are not too big for God to forgive. God forgave the people who killed his son. God forgave Paul, who hurt and killed God’s children. Throughout the gospels, Jesus says, “You are forgiven.” Nothing is too big a mistake for God to forgive. God forgives our selfish mistakes and horrible thoughts; God forgives anything we’ve done or will ever do.

—Victoria Guyadeen, 20

—from devozine (May/June 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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