Briton Rivière. Una and the Lion. Scottish National Gallery.
We wound others out of our wounds, and we sin out of our innocence. Nevertheless, we labor under the shadowy burden of guilt that we can’t seem to shake. Sin is a word that doesn’t sit well in our culture anymore, and the practice of confession and repentance has become outmoded. Society has given us permission to run from our imperfections and hide our transgressions even from ourselves, but by not seeing them, we are kept in bondage to them. The world’s great traditions have always understood the primary importance of confession and repentance. These practices mysteriously and wondrously free one from the bondage of shame, negative thinking and behavior, by bringing them into the light so they can be offered in repentance to a compassionate and forgiving God, bringing cleansing redemption and hope of change to the penitent and ultimately to the world.
You were wondrously designed in the image of God but have lost your way in the brutality of the world and done much you are ashamed of. Your innocent child’s heart has been buried under the weight of the burden you carry, so you have blindly wounded others out of the darkness so deeply embedded in your own wounded heart. You are fully accountable for those transgressions, but you are also fully free to find your way back to wholeness. Will you make the difficult choice to turn away from self-deception and see your ways with cleared vision and unflinching honesty?
To begin, this simple process Betty calls “name, claim, and tame” can be a tremendous help to you. When you are feeling unsettled, angry, anxious, fearful, or any other state of dissatisfaction, you can know that your neural structures of negativity are engaged and active, meaning oxygen, blood flow, and energy are moving through them. There are five basic negative thought patterns, or compulsions, that Betty calls the five Cs—competing, comparing, complaining, controlling, and condemning—that need to be tamed.
When you realize you are feeling any of these negative feelings, will you simply tune in and ask yourself which of the Cs might be controlling your thoughts. Then name it. Are you complaining about your life or the life of someone you love? Are you condemn- ing yourself or someone else because your expectations haven’t been lived up to? Are you attempting to control someone or something? Are you competing with or diminishing another person? Are you comparing yourself to others you perceive to be more successful? Now claim that the thought is simply a neural structure that has wired together and fired together in a certain way for too long through a familiar groove. Then, quieting any self-judgment, tame it by acknowledging that this is where your growth needs to happen. You will probably struggle with one of the five Cs more than the others, perhaps because of your genetic makeup or learned thinking, so be compassionate with yourself.
Then take that habit to the foot of the cross, asking God to transform it. Take it there again and again, leave it there again and again, and move forward into your life with hope and gratitude. Finally, you will awaken one day to discover that this way of seeing is no longer controlling you. God yearns to re-create you in mercy. Listen to Him saying to you, “I understand. You didn’t know what you were doing. I will even use that thing you did that you can’t forget for good. I have already paid the price for you, and if I could, I would do it again because I love you, and you are worth that much to Me. Go, sin no more, claim your innocence, and let my forgiveness envelope and heal you. You are free.”
-excerpted from The Hidden Life Awakened pp 36-37
To hear Betty talk more about this, click below