Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” -1 Peter 3:3-4

Has the church instituted shame as a virtue? It sure can feel that way. Not all preachers are gracious. Sometimes it feels like churches make it their goal to get you to leave their service feeling guilty. I don’t do that because I believe people already come in church feeling a little guilty. We don’t need to make them feel more that way. Other churches allow shame to die in their church. They do this by encouraging people to be honest and vulnerable and showing each other and God what you’re ashamed of. There’s nothing more renewing or refreshing than saying, “Here’s all my skeletons, my stuff, my depression, all the medications I’m on, the sickness that I’ve been hiding, my fears, my loss, and my worries — now what?” Now, loving people will come to you, wrap their arms around you, and say, “We love you even more now that we see the real you.”

PRAYER: Thank you, God, for the people that encourage us and allow us to be the real us. Help us to be those people for others!

REFLECTION: How can you encourage someone to be their real selves this week?

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