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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

And Don't You Forget It!

"There is a huge difference between 'I screwed up' (guilt) and 'I am a screwup' (shame).  The former is acceptance of our imperfect humanity.  The later is basically and indictment of our very existence."
~ Bren√© Brown, Rising Strong

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" "Shame on you!" "You're a bad boy/girl!"

I don't know about you, but these are some phrases that rattle around in my memory and occasionally surface when I've made a mistake or disappointed someone else or myself.  Sometimes such phrases were followed with, "And don't you forget it!"  It's even more difficult to admit actually saying these or similar things in thoughtless moments. Add to this, the institutionalizing of such sentiment with religions teaching things like original sin and total depravity, and it's no wonder so many of us walk around with clouds of shame hovering over us.

For so long humanity has been conditioned to believe we are inherently "no good rotten sinners" that we believe it.  Then, we turn around and ask incredulously, "Why is there so much evil and violence in the world?"

Several years ago I had a neighbor who would yell across the yard at me on Sunday afternoons, "Hey, Preacher, what did you preach on this morning?"  Just like an old vaudeville routine I would yell back with the straight line, "Sin!"  Then came his punch line, "Were you for it or agin' it?"

At the center of our little comedy routine is what I have come to see as the crux of our human and personal dilemmas.  We spend so much time focusing on "sin" (either for or agin') that we forget our basic, inherent goodness.  Please repeat after me, "I am created in the Divine Image and have within me the Divine Eternal Presence.  I am good!"

I attended a community vigil last week for the victims of the Orlando tragedy and after all the prayers, candles, and songs we sang one final and familiar phrase that captures it all, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me."

A good place to begin may be in trashing some audio files in our minds and guts, and replacing them with new ones -

"You can do better than that." "Pick yourself up and do better next time." "You ought to feel good about yourself!"  "Peace on you!" "You're a good girl!" "You're a good boy!"

"And don't you forget it!"

"We are all walking around shining like the sun!"
~ Thomas Merton

"Don't be afraid to know who you are. Don't be afraid to show it" 

~ Amy Grant

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