What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Silver & Green

Several weeks ago when we had Timothy Paul Jones come and speak at UNC we had posterboards on display for people to interact with on their way into his presentation. At the top of each posterboard was a prompt or question that corresponded with an issue of forgiveness or unforgiveness in their lives. For example, one of the prompts read: "I or someone I know cannot forgive a former friend for something they did."

We handed students a red dot as they passed by and invited them to put the red dot on the posterboard that they most resonated with.

One of the posterboards read, "I or someone I know struggles with guilt or shame over something done or left undone." Here's my camera phone picture of how covered in dots that particular one was:

One week later I gave the talk "freedom from shame and guilt" that I've been blogging from these past several days. At the end of the talk, I invited students to respond.

We passed around sheets of silver dots and sheets of green dots. The silver dots were for students who were Jesus followers who realized that they were carrying around guilt and shame unnecessarily and were ready to step into the light and leave their guilt or shame there that night. The green dots were for people who weren't following Jesus or who hadn't been for a long time who were ready to make a decision to do so.

As we sang several songs about the power of Jesus to free us from guilt and shame, we invited students to come forward and cover up a red dot on the posterboard with a silver or green dot--a symbol of the old being swallowed up in the new life we have in Christ.

Here's the "after" picture:

Lots of powerful silver...and one glorious dot of green.

I'm not so foolish as to think that this is the end of shame or guilt for me or for my students. But the process of being freed from shame and guilt is a process made up of hundreds, maybe thousands, of decisions--both big ones and small ones. And I believe that for many of the students there that night, the step to put a dot up on a posterboard was an anchor-point decision that they can look back on next time the voices of shame and guilt come to haunt them.

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