May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
II Thessalonians 2:15-17 (NIV)
Shame and grace are perhaps the two of the most potent words in molding and shaping our beliefs about ourselves. Shame keeps us from accepting all the love God has for us. Grace invites us to embrace it. Lewis Smedes, in his book, “Shame and Grace,” writes, “The feeling of shame is about our very selves – not about something we did or said but about what we are. It tells us that we are unworthy. Totally. It is not a few seams in the garment of our selves need stitching; the whole fabric is frayed. We feel we are unacceptable.” How do we overcome such devastating feelings? How can we ever shake such deep emotion? Only through God’s grace. Paul says that it is God who loves us and by His grace gives us encouragement and hope. His grace encourages our hearts and strengthens us. Smedes writes, “Grace overcomes shame by simply accepting us, the whole of us, with no regard to our beauty or our ugliness, our virtue or our vices. We are accepted wholesale. Accepted with no possibility of being rejected. Accepted once and forever. Accepted at the ultimate depth of our being. We are given what we have longed for in every nook and nuance of every relationship.” Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Are you listening? Today, read this devotional again and believe. God’s grace says it all. You are loved.
Oh, Father, melt my heart. Open me and pour your grace deep into my soul. I believe, but today help my unbelief. Lord, I renounce my shame and accept your unconditional love. Flood my being with the joy of Your grace I pray.
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