February 23, 2020

On Proper Self-Love: The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

On Proper Self-Love: The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

“On Proper Self-Love: The Difference between Guilt and Shame”
Sermon based on Rom. 13:8-10, Rom. 8:1, Psalm 34:4-5,18, and Proverbs 19:8
Rev. Paul E. Capetz
Christ Church by the Sea (United Methodist),
Newport Beach February 23, 2020

Sometimes I meet new people, and when they learn that I am a minister, they feel a need to explain to me that they don’t go to church anymore. For some of them, the church used to be a very important part of their lives, but bad experiences led them to leave their churches. When I ask for more information about what happened to them, what I frequently hear are variations on a single theme. Somehow their churches conveyed to these people that they simply weren’t good enough, that they just didn’t measure up. One man reported that, after having attended a church for some time, the attitude of other members toward him changed when they found out that he had been divorced. A woman told me she stopped going to church when her unwed daughter became pregnant. Others had similar things to say. There are all sorts of people like these who feel that their lives are too messy for them to find acceptance in a church. If you happen to be talking with former Catholics, they may even refer to themselves as “recovering Catholics” who are trying to get over the “Catholic guilt” they imbibed through their strict religious upbringing at the hands of priests and nuns. So, better to leave church behind than to live under the weight of all that guilt!

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