“My Spirit convicts cleanly, without crushing words of shame,” quotes Sarah Evans in Jesus Calling. There’s been (or is about to be) a sin, an infraction . . . a screw-up – something done or said out of selfishness or judgment or thoughtlessness. We think “I shouldn’t have said that.” “That was so insensitive of me.” “I owe her an apology.” That’s conviction from the Holy Spirit of God living in you. That “still small voice” that doesn’t even need words to communicate. His thought becomes your thought. Now, it’s about obedience and taking action.
That’s clean conviction. That’s what our perfect Father does . . . that’s how He corrects. “No, that’s not the right thing to do. What does Love require of you right now? That’s my will.” “Call him back and confess. Apologize.” Our peace, our faith, our spiritual growth moves forward or backward depending on our obedience to His conviction.
His direction is personal, but His correction isn’t. When I make a mistake, I usually address myself with something like “You idiot! What were you thinking? What kind of bozo does that?” Personal accusations, demeaning words, all connected to my shame . . . pointed to the lies I’ve believed about who I am.
When God sees us, He sees us as who we are in Christ. He doesn’t see an idiot. He doesn’t even see a “sinner saved by grace.” He sees His son, the beloved, forgiven, sinless son or daughter Jesus died for. The sin we’ve committed? That came from the evil one. He’s a waste. His fate is sealed. All his crap is futile in the long run but it still causes a lot of pain and damage in the here and now.
Remember, shame is believing lies about who you are. Because you yield to the enemy in a moment of weakness or confusion or hurry doesn’t change who you are.
Clean conviction is how God points to what you did and what needs to be done to repair it. There is no rejection . . . “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
What about guilt? It’s the human emotion that rises up when we perform below what we think is perfection. Guilt makes makes us feel bad about our mistakes. But it’s the playground of the enemy; he subverts guilt that leads to conviction into guilt that leads to self-condemnation. That’s the guilt that paralyzes, leads to self-pity, low self-esteem and a sense of unworthiness. It’s from Satan. Shake it off. Forgive yourself. Move on.
Clean conviction motivates. It’s from God. Obey His voice. Take responsibility. Repent. Do a 180. Fix what you’ve broken the best you can and move forward to the life God wants you to have in Him.
Prayer – “Lord, I want to walk with You. You came and took all my guilt and shame to that cross so I could live free. Please speak conviction loudly into my spirit so my dim ears will hear You. And give me the courage to act . . . to believe You when You assure me of Your 100% love and forgiveness . . . even for the things I’ve failed at today. In your beautiful name I ask this. Amen.”