“Have I done something to upset you or hurt you?” I inquired with genuine concern.
The response was hurtful and grieved my heart. I hadn’t gone through anything so personally painful in a very long time.
A sister in Christ accused me of doing something I didn’t do, and having impure motives. To make matters worse, when I approached her to ask if I had done anything to harm our relationship, first she lied and said I hadn’t, but then came back after the fact to list my supposed infractions. And to throw salt in the wound, she closed the door, leaving no way for the issue to be discussed further or resolved, saying “We love you, but from afar.”
It felt like my heart had been ripped out, thrown down to the lowest depths, and shattered in a million pieces.
Dumbfounded, I shared the basic details with a couple of my closest friends, seeking their wisdom and guidance. While they were appalled by the incredulous way I had been treated by a fellow sister in the Lord, they maintained association with my accuser, leaving me to feel they implicitly supported not only her but her leadership style.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I wept many tears over the situation. I was not used to being falsely accused, and having my integrity bashed in such an open way, left me crying out to the Lord for He knew the truth. There was nothing more I could do other than trust that He still loved me and He would be my defender.
Has anyone ever wrongly accused you of something? Or have you ever felt ashamed of something you have done? Or perhaps hadn’t done but were perceived to have?
Shame and accusation remind me of my frequent early Texas morning experience when I venture out the front door in the pre-dawn light, only to run straight into a silk-laden cobweb created in the dark of night while I slept. It never mattered what I did; it seemed I couldn’t shake it off or peel it off. It entangled me.
Accusation, condemnation, shame, and guilt do not come from our heavenly father. They are traps of the enemy of our soul, who delights in seeing us destroyed and seeks to help us finish the job.
The enemy casts accusation and condemnation on us and he also convinces us to accuse others, ourselves, and God. He then wraps it up in a shame- and guilt-filled bow.
God has never desired to judge us. Rather, His desire has always been to bless us. In fact, the first account we read of God’s blessings in the Bible was after He created Adam and Eve. He declared them very good, blessed them, and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply.
Yet the enemy would like to cause us to look over our shoulders, quaking in shame and fear of God’s judgment.
John 3:16 is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Children often learn to recite this verse before they learn any other verse.
Our salvation depends on its truth.
Yet so often I think we miss the important message that comes next:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17 NIV).
God’s goal has never been to shame us, judge us, or condemn us. His purpose has been to love us, accept us, bless us, and save us, all the while drawing us unto Himself.
For many years I walked under a cloud of shame and guilt for things I had done—it didn’t matter how big or little, or whether anyone else knew or not. I allowed it to negatively impact what I thought of myself, and felt certain that since I was disappointed in myself, surely God was also.
Over time, and after many tears were shed in despair, God revealed it is the enemy of our soul who judges us, accuses us, and shames us. In his deceitful whispers, he first tempts us to engage in such behavior, and then accuses us of our mistakes and faults, shaming us when he reminds us of them later.
Yet God’s truth trumps the enemy’s lies. God declared, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).
God sent Jesus because He knew that since the days of Adam and Eve in the garden, we were incapable of perfection. He allowed Jesus to pay the penalty for our mistakes because He loves us so much that He couldn’t bear to be separated from us for all eternity.
What a weight that lifted off me. When He looks on us, He doesn’t regard us with shame—He sees royal heirs to the throne, whom He is lovingly grooming and training for that day when we will see Him face to face in His mansion of glory. God wants you to know, you are not your mistakes, and your mistakes have been forgiven.
“I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” 1 John 2:12
And in those times when you have been unjustly accused, God will be your defender.
“The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; Your God is faithful and true; he does what is right and fair.” Deuteronomy 32:4
Furthermore, don’t worry and don’t be afraid. God will fight for you.
“Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.”
What lies have you believed that have kept you a slave to shame? Will you exchange them for God’s truth today?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.