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So, have you ever been told, “you have brought disgrace on all of us?” This type of fear is related to a past action. This has greater impact in some cultures than in others. In its most extreme forms, people have committed suicide rather than deal with the fear of disgrace. Various cultures determine what actions are considered worthy of disgrace.

But in what sense is disgrace considered a type of fear? Fundamentally fear is about losing something important to me or not gaining something I desire. A spouse may cheat on a partner and lives in fear of being discovered and losing the respect of people important to them or losing everything in a divorce! Today the news headlines are filled with stories of prominent and powerful people who are being disgraced due to accusations of sexual misconduct. Can you imagine their fear of losing reputation, position, relationships, influence? The fear that comes from disgrace can be terrifying.

This type of fear can also be spiritually devastating. When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed so he could marry her, that was a horrible act. His disgrace came when the Prophet unmasked him publicly. David expressed his fear of losing his connection with God when he prayed, “cast me not away from your presence and do not take your spirit away from me.” Fortunately for David, God never met a wrong he is not willing to forgive. Though sometimes the consequence is heavy, forgiveness is a divine promise.

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Equally important is the ability to forgive yourself. Remember this is not the first mistake you have made (it may be the biggest) and it sure won’t be the last so go ahead and forgive yourself.  If God can forgive you (he is supposed to know everything there is to know about you), you can forgive yourself.

 

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