As you know, I haven’t preached at Hoover for the last two weeks, but there’s a theme that unites what we’ve been reading in the One Word devotional book and what we’ll read in the next couple of weeks. Two weeks ago the theme was Worry, this week it’s Shame, and next week it’s Guilt. When I was trying to think of a way to tie the ideas together, I ran across a book called, The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures. It helped me see how the gospel addresses all of our most basic needs.
There are three types of cultures in the world–(1) guilt-innocence, (2) shame-honor, and (3) fear-power–and they correspond to the consequences of sin that we’ve experienced and which Jesus addresses at the cross. In churches in the West, we’ve emphasized the guilt-innocence aspect of the gospel; that is, our sin made us guilty before God, and Christ’s death restores our innocence.
But we’ve probably underemphasized the other aspects. Our sin also gives us a sense of shame. We intuitively recognize that we’ve fallen short of what we were created to be and that we are ostracized from the community to which we belong (i.e., we’ve “lost face”).
Also, our sin causes us to live in fear, because we know that there’s a war between good and evil forces in the world and that our sin has aligned us with evil. As a result, our lives are characterized by fear and worry.
Tomorrow we’ll study several passages in Ephesians that show us how the gospel addresses our brokenness holistically, restoring us to communion with God that fixes everything that sin messed up.