The Christian Atheist – Chapter 2 Discussion
Today, we’re discussing the second chapter of Craig Groeschel’s The Christian Atheist. Today’s discussion is being led by Jason at Connecting to Impact. For his thoughts and for further discussion, please visit his site.
When You Believe in God but Are Ashamed of Your Past
Chapter 2 hit incredibly close to home for me. It reminds me of when my pastor is preaching and really starts stepping on toes and will say, “Uh-oh! I done quit preachin’ and done gone to meddlin’!” And I really felt like that’s what Groeschel was doing in Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 can be summed up in one word: Shame.
One of the greatest obstacles in my life has been shame. The abuses that happened to me lasted only a short time, but the shame of them was like tar, holding me in place and never letting me move forward. Even more, my woundedness assisted me in making decisions that only deepened my sense of shame. And that hindered my relationship with God.
On page 49, Groeschel explains it like this:
When we become consumed with shame about decisions and actions, belief in God can never evolve into a loving relationship. Over time, we accumulate such a long list of sins that we can’t understand how God could possibly forgive us. Locked in a prison of shame, many Christian Atheists hate their pasts and themselves in equal measure—and there seems to be no hope of escape.
That totally describes where I have been. But Groeschel goes on to share a remedy. On p. 52, he uses the Biblical example of Peter—who had denied God—obviously a heinous sin. But Jesus came and restored Peter. Groeschel says, “Like Peter, we can become convinced of the truth: namely, that we are not our sins. And we’re also not what others have done to us.”
If I hadn’t read another sentence from the chapter, that one would have been worth the price of the book. I am not defined by what others have done to me.
And finally, he left me with a hope for the future.
Once a broken bone heals, it is often strongest at the point of fracture. (p.55)
Oh, Lord, that that would be true of me! And that it would be true of my brothers and sisters, as well!
Now, I encourage you, if you have not been there already, run over to Jason’s. Read his post and join in for the discussion!