Upon entering recovery, the feelings of shame and guilt from active addiction do not immediately disappear. Among other things, learning to move on from these feelings is a challenge. In order to be able to love and forgive others, you must first be able to love and forgive yourself. This strength stems from God’s grace, his unconditional love and undeserved favor for us.
It’s important to understand that shame is a compilation of judgements, conclusions and beliefs you have about yourself. These judgements and beliefs do not define who you are, because when you give your life to Jesus you are a new creation. If you live in these false beliefs, it becomes difficult to accept love and blessings because of the idea that you are undeserving, but you are. Jesus came here to die for you, to forgive you of your sins so that you could have eternal life.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Shame is simply a painful sense of self which causes us to run away from God. Making mistakes and feeling ashamed is no reason to run and hide from God. They are reasons to draw closer to Him. Once you are able to recognize how much God has already been working in your life, you will begin to see His unconditional love and grace for you. It is He who takes your failures and shame and turns them into strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9-12
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Not only are you worthy of God’s grace, His unconditional love and forgiveness, but it is the very reason Jesus came to earth. Continuing a life in recovery, there will always be struggles. Fortunately for us, the door from brokenness in addiction to being saved by Christ is always open. From there, He is able to guide us and remove the shame from our lives. For recovering addicts, God’s amazing grace is one of His greatest gifts.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.