In the mail last week I received a book to review that was billed as a ‘Christian response to 50 Shades of Grey‘.
This book was an attempt at correction for Christians who had bought into sexual submission fantasies.
As I flipped through the pages, it occurred to me that this book might be just as confusing to the message of the Gospel as the pleasure-is-all-that-matters message of 50 Shades. The idea of correction was centered on creating a sense of shame as a way of changing behavior.
Both of these books are bound to leave the souls of their readers unsatisfied and untouched.
The lead character was led to cover her shame by making herself the plaything of a man. On the other hand, covering shame with ‘right’ behavior will lead to a religious person who is far from God.
Which beckoned the question, what is godly correction?
Without a doubt, when we notice – in our self and others – behaviors that do not honor God, we should make every attempt to curb them.
As we see unhealthy ways of relating, people should be counseled out of them. When our decisions are destructive, we should lovingly be made aware.
But correction does not end with the command to ‘just stop‘.
Correction must go deeper than simply telling our self and others to ‘try harder‘.
That is the gospel of self-effort, and it ends miserably in exhaustion and burnout and the rationalization that God must not care because nothing has changed.
The behaviors, decisions, and ways of relating we exhibit are symptoms of a deeper problem that must be addressed. That is the cutting power of the Gospel of Christ, to get to the truth of who we are as a way to not just cover shame, but to restore the broken image within each of us. (see Shattering the Image)
All of us, at one time or another, use something other than God to feel significant, worth, valued or loved. (see Adopting Roles or Identities)
We long for a sense of adequacy and acceptance. (see The Reflected Sense of Self)
This is what the truth of Jesus speaks to, not trying harder, but moving closer. Experiencing communion with the one in whose image you were created. Through that experiencing redemption of your self, your needs, and your desires.
We are to hide the word in our heart not as a blueprint for behavior, but to renew the heart that wanders in search of more. The heart is deceitful, but it is also the wellspring of life.
Godly correction speaks to the heart. Exchanging the truth of the cross for the lies of the world so that our heart – the identity that gives us a sense of significance – can be secure and affirmed in Christ.
Where does your heart find its worth?
What poor decisions, behaviors, or ways of relating does this lead to?
How can the truth of Christ speak to the lies stir up your shame and motivate your false sense of self?
I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.