"Once a man was asked, ‘what did you gain by regularly praying to God?’ The man replied, ‘nothing… but let me tell you what I lost: Anger, ego, greed, depression, insecurity, and fear of death.’ I wish I could find who wrote that; I'd love to give credit.
Tho' I don't wholly agree with that, since I have received: forgiveness, comfort, direction, a more open heart and a more courageous spirit to name a few. But what I lost in addition to those listed above is inappropriate shame. Oh, I don't mean the kind of shame that properly ensues an act of meanness or cowardliness. I mean the inappropriate shame that keeps us more focused on bemoaning our errors than in making new choices based on what we learned from our mistakes. And I mean the inappropriate shame related to what was done TO us rather than BY us, such as victims of incest or rape who cling to the lie that it was in some way their own fault. And I mean the inappropriate shame of having a loved one in jail or prison or in the prison of addictive behaviors.
Because the joy of a relationship with Christ is this: we become new creations, released from the drag of negative shame and all that other junk and are empowered to believe the we are loved, valued, important....worthy in the eyes of God.
This is as true for those of us in the free world as it is for those we love who are imprisoned by brick and mortar or ensnared in a destructive lifestyle.
If anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! -- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEB)