I look at the New Testament as our instructions for becoming Christlike. The New Testament tells the story of Jesus. Jesus is an example of what he wants us to do. The New Testament tells us how to live a Christian life. Jesus demonstrated this in his behavior. Jesus demonstrated this in his relationships with others. Jesus demonstrated how to walk in love with others. He demonstrated how to connect in loving relationships with others. In my work as a Christian counselor, I coach parents in the Stress Model for parenting. The Stress Model basically states that everything we feel has its root in either fear or love. Parents should be teaching, disciplining, behaving, and reacting from a place of love, rather than one of fear. The Stress Model gives us strategies to do this with our children. The healing power of Jesus transforms us so we can implement these strategies and be more like Jesus.
Ephesians 4:1 “ . . I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Worthy is a powerful characteristic and calls us to a high standard. Webster’s synonyms are: deserving, good, and meritorious. Webster defines worthy as being of value and being honorable. "Fear not because God has given us the Gift of life (spiritual) because we were dead in our transgressions," Ephesians 2:1-2. This gives us the new start that we need.
I believe that we all struggle at times with accepting our new start. Why is that so hard? I believe it has to do with not believing that we are worthy.
I believe that feeling unworthy is a function of our shame. Our shame tell us that we are not worthy. Shame is different than guilt. Guilt is a feeling of remorse or regret for having done something wrong. We usually experience shame after we’ve done something wrong. It comes from a judgment regarding our behavior. Since we did something wrong, we are not worthy.
This judgment can come from us or from others. Shame causes us to feel dishonored and disgraced by our behavior. We feel that we don’t measure up. We feel we are not as good as. I believe that shame is part of the curse of our sin. It started back in the garden. Adam answered God in Genesis 3:10 - “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” I believe Adam and Eve hid because they were ashamed. Think about it. Fear carries a lot of shame with it.
How does feeling unworthy interfere with our parenting? It keeps us out of a love state. We react to our children’s faults and mistakes. We react because their behavior triggers our shame. Their behavior triggers our feeling unworthy.
Shame causes us to look to our children to get our sense of worth. I challenge you to explore your childhood and determine where your shame comes from. We can receive shame messages from our parents, teachers, and preachers. We can experience shame messages from most anyone who has influence on our lives.
These messages become part of our blueprint. Once you raise your awareness of your shame blueprint, you can begin to change it. Don’t try to do that by yourself. Your shame will cause you to hide from God, just like Adam and Eve did. I believe we need the grace of God to lift our shame. There is work we need to do. Ultimately we need the Holy Spirit to deliver us from our shame.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit with you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you will keep my judgments and do them.”
I find great comfort from living under the new covenant. The new covenant is all about grace. The covenant of grace is provided by Jesus Christ. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” - John 1:17.
Press on with your journey. Do so with an abundance of grace. Connect with your child in love that is free from shame. This is one way that Christians are supposed to behave. Remember that you are worthy through Jesus Christ.
About the Author: Ken Thom, MS, LPC,* specializes in assisting individuals, families, and children in trauma or distress. A nationally recognized Christian counselor and published author, Ken uses Scripture and Biblical truths along with the Post Institute Stress Model to put love into action to heal relationships.
Ken has over 25 years of experience working with people with alcohol and drug addiction; sexual, physical, and emotional abuse; mood disorders; ADHD and other behavioral disorders; and relationship and marital problems.
A parent and grandparent, in his free time, Ken supports faith-based community efforts, youth and men's ministries at his church, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy for Christian Education.
As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict himself, Ken's personal experience allows him to better assist his clients in "Healing Relationships through Love in Action." You can find Ken on the web at www.kenthomcounseling.com
*Master of Science, Licensed Professional Counselor