Shame or Godly Conviction [Part 1]


Are you ready for some good news?

The Holy Spirit never shames, never condemns and never pushes you away from the Father. He always draws you home.

Today’s Text: ““But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’” (Luke 15:17–19, ESV)

It’s essential to know the difference between shame and conviction of sin. Here’s partly how I describe it in Free Yourself, Be Yourself:

“After squandering his wealth in “wild living,” the younger son found himself penniless in the midst of a famine. Desperate to survive, the young Jewish man did an abominable thing when he took a job feeding ceremonially unclean pigs. As he slopped the swine, he realized he was so hungry that he was actually envious of the hogs. At least the pigs had pods to eat.

Watch the process of true conviction. First, the son recognized the poverty of his life. When he “came to his senses,” he recognized that if continued, this course of life would lead to utter destruction. …

In coming to his senses, it was the knowledge of his father’s wealth compared to the poverty of his sin-induced predicament that began his thought process of repentance. He decided to admit he was not worthy to be called his father’s son.

Why is this statement of unworthiness an expression of healthy conviction rather than toxic shame?

It’s simple. Conviction always moves us back to the Father.

To say, ‘I am not worthy, so I will stay away from my Father,’ is shame. To say, ‘I am not worthy, but I will go to my Father,’ is conviction.”

There is an awareness of unworthiness that doesn’t leave you feeling doomed but hopeful. When you’re convicted by the Holy Spirit, there is profound hope of a new and better way. If you ever hear a voice telling you that you’ve messed up so much that you should stay away from the Father, rebuke it! God loves you and wants you home. And that’s the Gospel!

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