I know of a wise older gentleman who asks men that visit him three questions: “Are you good looking or not?” “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” and “Do you have a big or small penis?”
It’s kind of funny. It’s sort of offensive. It’s for sure brilliant.
How a guy answers those questions is everything. Does he answer honestly – even with himself? Where does the answer to each question come from? They are all relative questions – what is it that guy comparing his answer to? When was the first time he answered each of those questions? What answer has the world, his dad, his God given him? Every guy has answered those questions in his head – just not out loud.
Most men spend their life affected by their deep seeded answers. They either run from it, avoid it, cover it up, or rail against it with anger. The kicker is most of us have the wrong answer, or at least the wrong idea of what the answer means. Very few of us own our answers.
They are the type of questions that haunt our confidence in who we are as men. We often look for the answers from women. It’s why single men don’t act and why married men are afraid of their wives.
The kicker is this, most women don’t really care that much about any of those questions. But how you answer them will affect everything you do with women – whether you are married or single.
These three questions (or similar ones) get at the heart of three areas of our life that we are insecure about. Our self image, our shame, and our sexual prowess.
I’ve written a lot about our self image, including when it comes to how we view our looks. Later this week I’ll write about the sexual prowess question. But today, I want to focus on the second question. What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
This question has to do with shame which flies in the face of the gospel. For some there is fear of being found out, for others the fear of being disqualified. Many have been carrying it as a secret for a long time.
The funny thing about the worst thing you’ve done question is there’s a good chance it’s not actually the worst thing you’ve done. It is however, what you are most of ashamed of. But most of us have never actually said this out loud, to anyone. Many have not even said it to God. Shame is a powerful tool of the enemy. Shame means we are unreconciled with God. Think about that.
Shame causes us to look away when we shouldn’t. It causes us to withdraw, back down or act out when we think it might be exposed. What we hide in the dark, makes us afraid of the light – and freedom (as well as confidence) is in the light. Worst of all, it holds us back with Jesus because He brings light to everything. As a secondary problem it holds us back with people – including the opposite sex.
Shame crushes confidence.
The only way to crush shame is to bring it out into the light and deal with it. It’s the only way to know which parts of it are our fault (so we can repent) and which parts aren’t (so we can heal).
We have to start with the truth that Jesus is serious about both forgiveness and healing. If we don’t believe that then we will spend our whole lives in the dark.
You see the follow up question to what is the worst thing you’ve ever done is this, “Do you know that you are forgiven for that?”
Either the cross took care of every sin or took care of none of it. There really can’t be any in between. So if I think that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us, then I have to figure out how to believe that I’m forgiven for the worst thing I’ve ever done. We know it intellectually and biblically. But most of us don’t live out of it at all.
Here’s the truth. Because of the cross, you are forgiven for everything you’ve ever done, everything you’re doing, and everything you ever will do. That’s either true or we are screwed.
There are also some of us who are carrying shame because of something that happened to us that we have falsely interpreted as our fault. Again, the only way to get at this is to bring it into the light. Once it’s in the light, we need to know that Jesus, through the power of the resurrection makes all things new. There is nothing that can’t be made new – nothing.
What does it mean to bring something into the light and deal with it? I think it means bringing it before God and someone else. I think to own it means to share it with someone. This can obviously be dangerous. But we have to take the risk. If we don’t have community, pay a few bucks and see a Christian counselor – hey married people do it.
If we don’t then we will continue to shrink back. Shame will keep us dating no one (or the wrong people), fearing commitment, or if we do somehow get married, insidiously impact our marriage.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done? Who have you told? Do you know you are forgiven? Really forgiven?