Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil. 20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. John 3:19-20, CEB
Recently, someone approached me and asked me to prove God. This sounds like the setup for a joke, or perhaps the beginning of a weird dream, but it is not. It actually happened. The first part of the conversation went like this:
Person: “I was told that perhaps you could help me believe in God.”
Me: “What view of God are you currently struggling with?”
Person: “Well. I grew up believing in God. I always went to church. It wasn’t a good experience. I just can’t do it anymore.”
Me: “Do you want to believe in God?”
Person: “I was told you could help me believe in God.”
Me: “I understand…but is that what you want?”
On my end, I was not trying to be elusive. I wasn’t trying to avoid his questions or to avoid discussing why I believe in God. I was operating from the assumption that the only way for me to be helpful to someone struggling with belief is for me to get an idea of what that struggle is.
Here’s what he told me: He was deeply wounded by the church and someone else told him that I could convince him to believe in God. He didn’t say that he believed in God and wouldn’t admit that he wanted that for himself.
To me, this sounds like shame. I will admit that I am assuming, but it’s all I can do because our conversation was brief. It seems to me like someone else wanted him to believe in God and asked him to come talk to me because, perhaps, I could whip into shape. This person didn’t know what he wants, but he’s willing to listen to an outside voice that convinces him that he needs to be convinced to believe in God.
I can’t help but wonder if this kind of belief, to him, is the voice of shame telling him to perform.