“The interplay between guilt and toxic shame becomes, for some of us, a distinction without a difference. Whenever toxic shame gains a foothold, things like grace, forgiveness, and new mercies leak out of us like water passing through a drain hole.”- Scott Sauls
“Heaven have mercy on us all — Presbyterians and Pagans alike — for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.”- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
In Prologue 1 (“Tears on My Shirt”) of Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans, Scott Sauls observes that it’s second nature for us to hold on to regret. And that regret dies hard for us. Furthermore, it’s so easy for our guilt to turn into toxic shame as we appraise our self-worth.
Above all, Pastor Sauls prays that:
” . . . you will come to understand that even though the ugly things are part of your story they don’t define you. I pray also that the eyes of your heart will be opened to receive the grace that’s better than the very worst thing about you. You couldn’t escape it if you tried because as sure as his tomb is empty, the goodness and mercy of Christ will follow you all the days of your life.”
In addition, Pastor Sauls underscores, Jesus mends the cracks in us. Therefore, Scott compares growing in the ways of God to making a long-term commitment to physical fitness. So, as you grow toward a more complete version of yourself, you increase in spiritual strength.
In conclusion, Pastor Sauls stresses, two things happen when you work and stretch your soul to its limits. You’re able to endure suffering and enjoy God all at once. As a result, Scott notes, you turn into the best kind of dangerous. Hence, when God’s children show up for each other, Satan, the accuser, starts to tremble.
Today’s question: What causes God’s goodness and mercy to leak out of you like water passing through a drain hole? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Always instructive, even surgical”