My son gave me a Nike T-shirt that reads, “You are faster than you think.” Some days I actually believe that…but other days, I wanna turn turn the t-shirt inside out as I run.” Who we are, and who we want to be are most of the time two very different things. One writer said he experiences a mild panic attack every time he hits, “Publish” on his blog. “People will hate it. They’ll brush it off. They’ll ignore it. They’ll compare it to the work of their favorite writer, and you will pale in comparison. Don’t do it. It isn’t worth the energy.”
Two nights ago I decided to put my own blogs to the test and talk to a very trusted friend about a struggle. His response, full of grace, kindness, and compassion was, “Me too.” His words robbed shame of its power. The writer of Hebrews (4:15 ) says, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.”
Experienced it all? Everything? Sarah Young, in her book, “Jesus Calling”, explains it like this. “I love you _______ (put your name there), regardless of how well you are performing. Sometimes you feel uneasy, wondering if you are doing enough to be worthy of My love. No matter how exemplary your behavior, the answer to that question will always be no. Your performance and My Love are totally different issues, which you need to sort out. I love you with an everlasting love that flows out from eternity without limits or conditions.” Chances are, you need to experience this kind of love today. Me too.
On Thursday nights, I get together with essentially a group of, “Me too” people, where it’s ok to be real. I’ve heard similar things said of of AA, its prerequisite of candor and honesty, declaring, “Hi my name is Stefan…me too.”
It may be a lifelong lesson, and an unending blog, but well worth the learning. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance. And true repentance leads to change, not shame. Healthy guilt is, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake.” Shame is, “I’m sorry, I am a mistake.” I heard it said once, “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.
What I heard from my friend were the two most powerful words when we’re in struggle? ‘Me too.’” What we hear from Jesus when we’re struggling is the same thing that a sinful woman in Scripture heard from the mouth of Jesus, “I do not condemn you either. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11
Let’s go and be a vessel that listens, empathizes, and responds the way Jesus would.