This picture is me at my high school graduation 1993 with my 🔥❤️ Jennifer. I was as tall as a man. I thought I was a man. I had a pretty young lady by my side. I tried to act like a man and for 25 years I have judged that 17 year old as if he was a man. He made mistakes. Some really inconsequential, and some of them more serious. He wasn’t perfect and adult Bob has sometimes been angry at or disappointed with him.
In February of this year, I was with someone that was talking about his younger more immature mid-20’s self and his young wife. I said to him “25?? Ha – don’t be hard on yourself, you were just kids!”
And then it became real to me that a 17 year old is not a man. He is a boy that just happened to be as tall as a man. So, yesterday, I let him off the hook for the things I have been hard on him for. To say Jesus forgives him and others while I throw stones at him is a double standard.
So I had this to say to Bobby. “You were a hurting young man that was trying but still imperfect. But, young man, listen to me . . …. . . you learned. You LEARNED! That is wisdom! That is maturing. Good job, son. You did your best to love and failed at times. You will be a good man when you grow up.”
Grace enables growth, judgement prolongs fear and hiding. So, if you have had a younger “you” on the hook for not being perfect, give em’ the benefit of the doubt. They were probably doing the best with what they had at the time.
** In February, I was able to attend a 3 day intensive called “The Ultimate Journey”. It was a life-altering experience of discovering places of unforgiveness, shame and false expectations on self and others that continues to transform my thoughts and understanding. I originally wrote this in my journal while at that event. Over time, I hope to share more thoughts regarding overcoming hang-ups in regard to shame over our past, present and future. I share some of my “shame” issues here in a recent message at Living Word Church which you can find HERE.
- Are there things about your childhood or young adult self that make you cringe when you think back to who you were or how you acted? (me? yes, and thank God there wasn’t social media to capture it lol)
- Do you find you are more hard on your self than others? Why or why not?
- Have you ever stopped to really consider the why of what you were doing?
- If a 16 year old was to share with you things they were ashamed of or regretted, what would be your response to them?
- Look at Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
- Is there anything you see as a “stain” on your past that have tried to keep covered or hidden?
- What do you think God means when He says “let’s settle this”?
- Have you ever considered you could be restored to as good as new as if the blemish never happened?
- If you would like, take a minute and ask Father, “God, I want to be washed clean of sin against You and others when I _____. I ask You to forgive me and make me clean again, in Jesus name I ask. Thank you!”
- Sometimes sharing our story with a friend who will just listen and demonstrate we don’t have to hide for the rest of our life is a powerful step to real freedom from self-criticism and shame. Have you ever considered talking with a trusted friend or confidant about your story? Why or why not? Who might be one person you could trust to tell your story to?