Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see yourself in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series Free Yourself, Be Yourself. Go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. We've learned what shame is, a lie that says I don't measure up and I need to figure out what's wrong and I need to make myself acceptable by measuring up. We've learned how a stronghold of wrong thinking can be built and we've learned how it can be torn down by the power of the gospel. And we have learned the importance of letting go of those painful wounds of healing that comes when we really forgive. We've taken some steps of forgiveness. We have seen the dynamics of shame. And maybe you're at this point and you're saying, okay, well, if we don't use shame to curb sin, how is it that we're going to curb sin?
Don't we need shame? I've heard that over and over. One of my favorite stories is about the mother whose son was living with a female and the mother said to the son that she believed it was wrong for a man and woman to be living together like that outside of marriage. And the son said, mother, it is not a romantic relationship.
It is just a friendship and it's a business relationship so that we can share the cost of the apartment. But the mother was suspicious of this and one night the son and the girl who actually was indeed his girlfriend invited the mother over for supper. And she came over and they had supper together and as the son and his girlfriend were cleaning up afterwards, the girl said, I can't seem to find that silver gravy ladle that used to belong to my grandmother. And she said, we use that for serving tonight. And she said, it's disappeared. And the girl said, you don't think your mother would have taken it, do you? The son said, well, of course she wouldn't have taken it. Why would my mom take the silver handled gravy ladle? And so they said, it'll turn up.
Well, you know, a week or two went by and it still wasn't there. And the girlfriend said, I just need you to ask your mom if she took it by any chance. So finally the son writes an email to his mother and says, dear mom, I'm not saying that you did. I'm not saying that you didn't.
But if you took the silver handled gravy ladle, could you please return it? And the mother wrote back a note that was just as succinct. Dear son, I'm not saying that you are sleeping with her and I'm not saying that you aren't. But if you weren't sleeping together, then she would have found it under the pillow in the other bedroom.
So I always wonder about that story. Is that shame or is that just some clever conviction of bringing something into the light? Because one of the things that we want to make clear is that when we talk about taking shame off of you, we're not talking about excusing our sin and we're not saying that God doesn't care about all of our behaviors. Instead what we're saying is that shame is in and of itself a tool actually of hell that leads us into worse sin.
And the Holy Spirit who is the greatest teacher, the most wonderful, what I want to show you, the most wonderful coach in the world leads you into godly living. And so there's a different process. I remember many, many years ago when I was preaching this series that I was so excited about all the healing that was taking place. And what I realized was not everybody liked it. In fact some people hated it. And still sometimes people hate this message when they first hear it.
And they don't apply to me. But one of the common responses is this can't be true what you're saying because I need shame in order to curb my sin. And there was actually a leader in our church called me up in the middle of that series all those years ago. And he said I just want to talk to you about this. He said I don't think I agree with what you're saying. And I was already about the tenth week of preaching on this and I said well tell me more. And he said well I think we need shame in order to curb our sinful behaviors.
And I said well help me understand how that works. And he said well, and he got quiet and he got serious. And he said this past week I found some pornography in my son's room and realized that he's had a problem. And he said I think he needs to feel really bad about that if he's going to curb that behavior. And I said well I'm so sorry to hear that.
I know that was upsetting. And he continued to talk and he said that's actually been a problem for me for many years. And I said well tell me more. And he went on to tell me, and he was a leader in the church, he went on to tell me about his struggles really with a pornography addiction.
One of the most rampant problems, addictive behaviors that we've got in our country right now. And he said this to me, he said I feel like that if I could just really feel worse about this then I could finally maybe overcome it. He said so I don't need to come to church and hear a shame off you message. I need to hear a message that makes me feel ashamed because that's going to be the thing that's going to help me to overcome this. And I said to him, I said you know I hear what you're saying but the message I'm proclaiming is saying exactly the opposite. And I said I don't think that your struggles with pornography are because you haven't had enough shame. I think the shame is actually at the root of it. I said because if you didn't have an anxious heart, if you didn't have wounds in your heart, if you didn't have needs of your soul that were not being satisfied in Christ then this temptation would not lie so close at hand.
I said I think it's actually shame that produces anxiety and anxiety calls us out to reach for substitutes to mask that pain. And he never got it. He never got it. He never really got the difference between shame which is toxic and the conviction of the Holy Spirit which is beautiful. There's no greater story that I know of other than the story of Jesus himself. No greater story than the story of what we call the prodigal son.
It's in Luke chapter 15. It is really a story of two sons. It really is the story of a prodigal father. Prodigal meaning extravagant or lavish, over the top. It's the father who's the extravagant one and his grace in this incredible story. It is my favorite story and it provides as clear as any place in the scripture a picture of the difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and shame. It's Luke chapter 15 verse 11. There was a man who had two sons and the younger of them said to his father, father give me the share of property that's coming to me and he divided his property between them.
It would have been unthinkable for a son to ask his father for his inheritance early. It was like saying I wish you were dead. That's what it was like saying. Can you imagine what it would be like to be accepted perfectly? Envision it. Being free to be yourself with no fear of rejection. If you mess up, people don't roll their eyes, make fun of you or love you less.
Imagine no more of that anxious feeling that you get deep down in your gut that makes you feel like the pressure is always on so you can never really relax. What you're imagining and longing for is a life with no shame. In Paradise, before sin came into the world, the Bible tells us only one thing about Adam and Eve's relationship.
They were naked and felt no shame. Ever since the fall, the human heart has been riddled with shame. It's a lie that says until you measure up, you can't be truly acceptable. Shame causes some to say I'll try to be perfect in order to be accepted and others to decide since I'll never measure up, I might as well rebel.
Either way, the heart is poisoned by shame and there is only one antidote. The grace of God in Jesus Christ. In his highly acclaimed book, Free Yourself, Be Yourself, Pastor Alan Wright not only exposes the lies of shame, he leads you into a revolution of God's love that heals your soul. Discover freedom, joy, and destiny as you shed performance-based living and let God take the shame off you for good. It's a life-changing, full-length book from Alan Wright.
Free yourself, be yourself. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. The younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the share of property that's coming to me. And he divided his property between them. It would have been unthinkable for a son to ask his father for his inheritance early. It was like saying, I wish you were dead.
That's what it was like saying. Not many days later the younger son gathered all he had. He took a journey into a far country and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. An unclean animal for the Jewish boy to even associate with.
He was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate and no one gave him anything. But verse 17 says, when he came to himself. What a great line of scripture.
This is to me a picture of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He came to himself. He came to himself and he said, how many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread but I perish here with hunger. I'll arise and I'll go to my father and I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against heaven and before you I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants and he arose and came to his father. So this rebellious younger son squanders his inheritance, brings scandal. Remember this is Mid Eastern culture that is built around the principles of shame and honor. He has dishonored his father's name, dishonored his family, squandered his inheritance.
We have the impression it is a wealthy man. So this is a lot of money that has been lost. This is a huge error. This is abject rebellion. This is abhorrent behavior. And he gets to the point he's nearly starving to death and he says, I'm just going to go home. He doesn't know everything about what it's going to be like when he gets home. He doesn't know his father's reaction.
The Bible says he came to himself. That he had this awareness that there's something better than this. I always like to think of it this, that while he is hungering to just even eat the pig slop, something in his mind, he remembers lamb chops on his father's grill. I think of the conviction of the Holy Spirit like that. It's like, I smell something better than this.
You know, this stinks what I'm doing right now and there's something better than this. This is what's taking place in his heart. This is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And that conviction of the Holy Spirit, it just draws him back to his father. He comes back rehearsing this speech about I'm no longer worthy. He's sorry.
He's remorseful. But here's what we learn in verse 20. And he arose and came to his father, but while he was still a long way off, which means his father was looking for him.
His father, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said, Father, I've sinned against heaven and before you, I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. He really does feel bad about his sin. But while he's feeling bad about his sin and he says, I'm not worthy to be called your son, he's also calling him father.
Do you see the irony of that? And he's in the father's arms. The father is hugging him and kissing him. And the father said to his servants, bring quickly the bachelorette, put it on him, put a ring on his hands, shoes on his feet, and bring the fattened calf and kill it and let's eat and celebrate, for the son of mine was dead and is alive, he's lost and he is found.
And they began to celebrate. The conviction that came upon that young man was, there is something better than this in my father's house. I may not understand just how wonderful it is, but it's better than this. This is not what I was made for. This is not who I am. What am I doing here?
Contrast. The older son, verse 25, was in the field. And as he came and drew near the house, he heard music and dance and he called one of his servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, your brother's come, your father's killed the fattened calf because he received him back safe and sound. But the older brother was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him.
The father is pleading with him. Can you hear the father saying, please come into the celebration. This is the greatest moment of our lives.
We're having the greatest party we've ever had. Come in, come in. This brother of yours, he was lost, he's found, he was dead, he's alive. Come in. The father is pleading with the older brother.
Come in. And the older brother said, look, verse 29, these many years I have served you and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat that I may celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him. And he said to him, son, you're always with me and all that is mine is yours. He's pleading to celebrate and be glad for this brother was dead and is alive, he's lost and he was found and the story just ends.
It ends with the older brother never coming in, never entering into the property. So the younger brother and all of that sin becomes a picture of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But the older brother who was at home dutifully, his own words, slaving for his father, working to try to earn his place and never coming into the celebration and never experiencing the father's embrace, that's a picture of shame. What's interesting is that the world would applaud the older brother and the world would condemn the younger. But in God's economy it was the conviction that came upon the younger that is celebrated because what does the father want? He wants his son in his arms. I was always taken even before I'd read the book when I had first seen Rembrandt's famous The Return of the Prodigal.
But after reading Nowen's book on the subject, it became an object of fascination for me. Rembrandt never fully explained who all the figures are in this masterpiece. We know that the prodigal there, broken and tattered clothes, one shoe fallen off, his ear, his face next to the father's heart, and the father's tender, tender embrace. We know that's the father, we know that's the prodigal.
We're not told for sure. Is the figure on the right, is this to represent the older brother? We know he was never actually in the scene, but maybe many have said that artistically Rembrandt put him there. They're looking down, looking down on it, looking with a distant sense of observation and with disdain. There are, whether the camera captures it or not, there are shadowy figures that are also back in the dark. And Rembrandt was a master of light.
And so you see that there are those that just drifted into the darkness. Who are these figures that watch this spectacle of a son who ashamed his father and the father looking past all the shame because his love is so great. And what I love about the painting most of all is where your eye focuses and it comes to the light on the father's face and the light on the father's hand. And I can't look at this masterpiece without thinking, the Lord bless you, the Lord keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you.
Alan Wright. Today's good news teaching, Shame or Godly Conviction? It's from the series Free Yourself, Be Yourself and the conference taught by Pastor Alan.
We're back in the studio here in just a few moments with today's final good news thoughts, so I encourage you to stay with us. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. Can you imagine what it would be like to be accepted perfectly? Envision it, being free to be yourself with no fear of rejection. If you mess up, people don't roll their eyes, make fun of you or love you less. Ever since the fall, the human heart has been riddled with shame.
It's a lie that says, until you measure up, you can't be truly acceptable. In his highly acclaimed book, Free Yourself, Be Yourself, Pastor Alan Wright not only exposes the lies of shame, he leads you into a revolution of God's love that heals your soul. Discover freedom, joy and destiny as you shed performance-based living and let God take the shame off you for good. It's a life-changing, full-length book from Alan Wright.
Free yourself, be yourself. The Gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Back now with Pastor Alan and our closing thought as we place a bookmark right here with shame or godly conviction.
A question. Well, let me make sure our listeners be sure to tune in tomorrow to hear the rest of this message, because knowing the difference between shame and godly conviction is one of the most important things you could ever know in the Christian life. It is part of our inheritance to be able to follow our shepherd, and the shepherd knows our voice and we know his voice, and this is part of that. And so we are actually going to explain what are the differences. And we will use this famous story, Daniel, of what we call a prodigal son, but really it is the story of these two sons that a father had, and how the younger comes under what is really conviction while the other stays in his shame.
And it will show us that there is all the difference in the world. And just to give you a little taste of it, let me say this. The conviction of sin will draw you to the Father, but shame will push you away, and God wants to draw you to his heart. Shame off you.
He wants you near his own heart. Guilt and shame are two words that typically in the Christian world go hand in hand together, but there is a distinction between the two, right? Well, we are going to learn a lot about that. You know, guilt is a real thing, right? If I commit a crime, I am guilty, and I have guilt. So we are all guilty. We all have sinned. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. To say shame off you is not to soften up on sin. That is not what it means. It is not to say that grace means that you get soft on sin either.
Instead it says, what is the solution to all of this? And what we are distinguishing between is what some have called true guilt and false guilt. But shame is something that is not just the same thing as false guilt, and it is not even the same thing exactly as condemnation, but what we are going to learn is that shame really is a system of thought. It is a whole stronghold, a house of thoughts, a way of looking at life, a way of looking at your own life. And it is subtle at times, and you don't realize it.
And then there are others who have been through the deepest and darkest types of trauma for whom it is a poison that has been taken in very deeply and is very toxic. But the conviction of sin, as we will discover, is a good thing. That is a gift from God.
It is good to know how we can go a better way. It is good to know how the grace of God can lead us into a better way of living. So that is the grace of God. Conviction of sin is not something to be ever shy about. It is something we should run to, because it is good. It is from God. But the shame that I describe in this series, Daniel, is something we say is toxic. Today's good news message is a listener-supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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