“A far stronger compulsion is created when people think they're being watched, as a mildly impressive 86 percent of people were guilted into washing their hands in one study (Steve Lipsher).”
Funny, even with all the information out there on the benefits of washing hands, people still need to be guilted in to doing the right thing. Sadly, the same methodology is being used in our churches today, guilt. I’ll be the first to confess, I have stood before my congregation and made desperate pleads to be involved in small groups, volunteers for service projects, and donate to ministries. Overtime however, guilt can have some adverse effects when used persistently.
In a 2015 article in Psychology Today author Guy Winch Ph.D. said, “Since guilt relates to our actions rather than our identities, it is less likely to motivate us to embark on a substantial ‘internal renovation’ such as that associated with character change.”
Is this not a beautiful thought? If we want to be change agents for Jesus, our appeal cannot be based upon guilt because it doesn’t bring about an internal change that reshapes our character. We need something exponentially greater, which is found in our identity in Jesus, love. When our identity is wrapped up into Jesus, our motivation shifts from guilt to love. That’s why I believe Paul challenged the Ephesians to grasp, to seize, to take hold of, how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:19).
In the 2005 Life Application Study Bible, these thoughts were recorded, “God’s love is total, says Paul. It reaches every corner of our experience. It is wide- it covers the breath of our own experience, and it reaches out to the whole world. God’s love is long- it continues the length of our lives. It is high-it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation. His love is deep- it reaches to the depths of our discouragement, despair, and even death.”
If we are going to mobilize an army in the name of Jesus, we can longer use weak methods of guilt or shame to motivate people to participate in the missio Dei (the mission of God). In the words of Paul, we must be rooted and established in love. If we were made for more, which I believe we undoubtedly are, let us help people discover the transformative love of Jesus, develop passionate followers, and deploy disciples to upend communities with that unshakable love.
Remember to be a blessing to someone else today!
Tuesday Morning on the Run
Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Barry Lawson