Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5 (NIV)
Since I began seriously seeking to make Jesus Christ the Lord of my life ten years ago, I have been filled with delight to discover attributes about His character that I never realized about Him before. One of those incredible findings is that He is the is not the giver of shame. His Spirit, however, does convict me of sin in my life. I am learning that shame and conviction are two separate emotions entirely. I used to think that they were one and the same. I do not claim to be a theologian, but this has been my understanding about the difference between shame and conviction against the character of God.
Shame is smothering, all-consuming, and humiliating. I can barely breathe when I feel it. It does not fill me with hope, but with self-loathing and despair. It never points to redemption or the way out of the shame.
Real conviction by the Holy Spirit is no less powerful an emotion. However, conviction lets me breathe again, even though I have to clean up my mess. Conviction gives me hope that there is a way out. It always points to redemption. It has the ability to make me brave when I am asked to do what I cannot find the strength to do by myself. Conviction is the means by which I remember that I belong to Someone who cares about what I do and wants the best for me. Instead of despair, conviction leads to repentance, which is always a reminder of God's amazing kindness and mercy to me.
One of the greatest benefits to belonging to Jesus is getting to reject shame and accept His conviction. My God is never into shaming anyone. His convicting Spirit brings me hope and comfort.
Thank You, Jesus, that You are the lifter of my head.