Lesson 4: God’s Immense Love
Here are 3 things we experience every day: Hurt, Guilt & Shame
Hurt: wrong was done to me. It would take just a few seconds for you to rattle off a dozen names of people who have hurt you. These folks vary from close relatives to co-workers and employers to teachers and neighbors.
Guilt: have done wrong. We have hurt others and hurt ourselves and these things generate guilt in us. Some of us carry the weight of deep sins that we have committed and they have become our identity.
Shame: something is wrong with me. Shame is when hurt and guilt become internalized deep in our being and create a twisted formula that says if I do enough good things and don’t do too many bad things I’ll be worthy of acceptance, attention and affirmation.
1) What role do you think guilt, hurt and shame have played in your choices, life and attitude?
We live out our lives with a whole lot of hurt, guilt and shame. In our self-hatred, we think that the God of the universe feels the same way about us. Ephesians 3 describes the great mystery of Christ whereby mankind is rescued from the alienation of hurt, guilt and shame. Specifically, it shows that the Gentiles, not just the Jews, had a seat at the table by faith. God’s mystery is that He sent His Son to die on the cross and rise from the dead to rescue every single one of us who has been hurt, and is guilty and full of shame. His amazing love now ushers us to our seat at God’s table.
Paul is writing this letter to Gentiles who did not experience God’s presence in the Temple, did not have the Jewish prophets of God, and had never read the Jewish Scriptures. In short, they were without God and without hope in the world. Paul identifies the One whom he is praying to as “the One whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” God is the Father of both Jew and Gentile.
Read Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
2) In verses 17-19 Paul explains the goals of his prayers. List out the purposes of Paul’s prayer.
3) How might hurt, guilt and shame keep us from the fullness of God?
4) How can this discipleship group pray more specifically for your greater experience of the width, length, depth and height of the love of God?
Our prayer is that you would experience every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus by trusting that salvation is a gift of God – not of ourselves and not of works – and that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works.
We pray that you would gain a deep understanding of God’s immeasurable love for us, because this is how we overcome the hurt, guilt and shame that keep us from experiencing God’s fullness. May God bless you immensely as you trust His amazing grace!