Archive for shame

I Know I Am a Sinner… Christine McDonald

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on October 11, 2019 by paulthepoke

I had heard of a God who was condemning. I knew I was going to burn in Hell for all my wickedness. I was full of shame and guilt. I was homeless. I was addicted. I was a prostitute. I was lost in darkness, wandering in my own wilderness. I was well aware of my brokenness. For real, I had heard this message before.

I felt shameful and dirty, things I already felt on my own. I didn’t need to hear these things from “those people”—the people who had a shower, who had shoes, who had a home. I didn’t need to hear it from those who did their good deed of scooping food on our trays, leaving them feeling a bit better about themselves. While these things were free, they still cost so much for us; the burden of the shame was equal to bags full of gold.

The last thing any of us needed was confirmation of how messed up our lives were. Believe it or not, we were all well aware of our brokenness, our bondage, our chains that gripped so cripplingly tight. I often went many days without food solely because I could not handle the damnation preached so hard and heavy at the soup kitchen mere blocks from where I existed.

The preaching required in order to receive the food that was needed to sustain life, human life, was a binding string. I left feeling judged and condemned. The last thing I wanted was a relationship with a God who was so grand that He judged harshly. Frequently we would leave talking about how painful it was to just get food. Food was successful at physically bringing us in, but the price—judgment—pushed us away in spirit. Many times, the prayers spoken over us were to remove the demons from us, rather than prayers for safety or hope or peace.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

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The Cancer Called Despair

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2019 by paulthepoke

Guilt and shame are the mental/emotional cancer of prostituted persons, eating away at the very core of their being, slowly consuming the individual’s joy, hope, and life. —Christine Clarity McDonald

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines despair as, “a feeling of being without hope or of not being able to improve a situation.” Despair is not a respecter of persons. It does not care whether you have much or have little, or whether you are a saint or a sinner.

The Scriptures are full of people experiencing despair. David wrote in Psalm 40:2, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.”

The prophet Isaiah also spoke of despair in Isaiah 59:9: “So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.”

If permitted, despair will take everything from us, including our lives. It is a lie that seeks to end our fight for life and hope in this world. At times it is even spurred on by well–intentioned but misguided people, agencies, policies, governments, and even churches.

Wherever we live, wherever our sphere of influence exists, we should consider how we can establish and maintain hope in those around us. Just as despair, guilt, and shame rob us of life, hope breathes life back into us.

God never leaves us or forsakes us. Even the smallest glimmers of hope are sparks of God beckoning us to Him. There are many moments in my life when, though I had not yet found God, I heard the whisper of hope.

Romans 5:3–5 “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

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Broken… But the Grace of Jesus Christ

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture, Gospel with tags , , , , , , on June 1, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldFeaturing Christine “Clarity” McDonald

I had heard of a God who was condemning. I knew I was going to burn in hell for all my wickedness. I was full of shame and guilt. I was homeless. I was addicted. I was a prostitute. I was lost in darkness, wandering in my own wilderness. I was well aware of my brokenness. For real, I had heard this message before.

I felt shameful and dirty, things I already felt on my own. I didn’t need to hear these things from “those people” – the people who had a shower, who had shoes, who had a home. I didn’t need to hear it from those who did their good deed of scooping food on our trays, leaving them feeling a bit better about themselves. While these things were free, they still cost so much for us; the burden of the shame was bags of gold full.

The last thing any of us needed was confirmation of how messed up our lives were. Believe it or not, we were all well aware of our brokenness, our bondage, our chains that gripped so cripplingly tight. I often went many days without food solely because I could not handle the damnation preached so hard and heavy at the soup kitchen mere blocks from where I existed.

soup kitchen

The preaching required in order to receive the food which was needed to sustain life, human life, were binding strings. I left feeling judged and condemned. The last thing I wanted was a relationship with a God who was so grand that He judged harshly. Frequently we would leave talking about how painful it was to just get food. Food was successful to physically bring us in, but the price – judgment – pushed us away in spirit. Many times, the prayers spoken over us were to remove the demons from us, rather than prayers for safety or hope or peace.

When I got off the streets and off dope, I learned of this man who had been in the Heavens who chose to be a homeless being, who was judged for His work. He knew how messed up I was. He knew how messed up the world was and would continue to be. Yet, He still chose to face the bondage of this world, to be born and to die. He was murdered in the most humiliating way so that I could have a second chance, a chance to enter the gates of heaven. He could do something no one else could. He could forgive me of my sins, and He offered me grace. He loved me so much that He willingly was born for the sole purpose of dying for me. He even knew me before I was born and loved me.

When I heard this message, I cried. I wept. How could He love me so? Was this the same message I had heard at the soup kitchen that turned me away when I had no shoes my feet, my body battered and bloody with road rash from being pushed out of a moving car, in paper clothes? Was this the same message I heard when I had been turned away because of “no shoes, no shirt, no service”? If I had heard such a loving and compassionate message during the years before, maybe I would have embraced His love sooner.

I am thankful for my journey of brokenness. My experiences shaped me to help others understand the plights of individuals such as myself and empower those trapped in the grips of hopelessness. However, I often wonder how many good and well-meaning believers crust the message and push away broken people away rather than drawing them closer to the arms of the Father. How many lose sight of the calling to love people to Him by meeting them where they are, tending to the human needs first?

Can desperately hungry people hear your message anyway? If they are broken, do they need confirmation of their brokenness? A loving approach with no strings attached is a powerful message. Maybe it should be as simple as the message, truly allowing love to be shared – the love of our God who sent His only begotten Son to die for us.

Somehow we Christians have missed the intersection joining the humanity of our fellow hurting humans with the love of Christ. I do not mean we aren’t preaching at these folks – we are doing that ad nauseam. No, what I mean is that we are not engaging with their basic human needs – such as food, water, and shelter – without attaching strings of judgment and wagging fingers in our interactions with them.

If we are created in God’s image, meant to be His representatives to a broken world, then perhaps we should follow His model. Jesus tended to people’s human needs before presenting a spiritual message. He chose not to condemn when He had every right to. Perhaps we should seek to love with tangible expressions of Christ’s unconditional love. Perhaps then the message can be heard.

 

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PaulthePoke

Prophecy Watch & Bible Study

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