MATTHEW BARNETT: OBLITERATE SHAME
By Matthew Barnett I've been a pastor for 17 years, working with every kind of person going through every type of recovery. Working with hundreds living in our facility daily, I have come to learn the single most destructive force on the comeback road to freedom: SHAME.
So I'm on a mission -- to obliterate shame!
Let me give you a simple formula: SHAME = GIVING UP. Shame seeks to first crush, then throw away the broken pieces. I'm a new member of POTSC because I believe that shame produces nothing, creates nothing, and leads to nothing. However, when someone loses hope and some crazy second chance person comes into their life, things start to change. The best thing we can do when someone fails is to run to him or her and infuse so much hope, to a ridiculous level, to the point that he or she can see a sunlit future again.
Many could criticize and say, "Where is the accountability?" My question back is, "Where is the accountability that we have before God to pick these people back up?"
Look, accountability will come, but the first step in helping people on the road to a comeback is a mass infusion of love, that brings hope. Hope produces momentum for people to want to change because they finally have the wind to their backs. Natural accountability will ride on the back of unconditional love. The Bible says, "Where there is no revelation people cast off restraint." This means if there is no hope for the future, there is no hope for self-control. --why even try?
We must throw bombs of hope on people right when they fail to remind them that life is not over.
At the Dream Center, over 40% of my staff are graduates from our recovery home. At our church, we have ex- pimps, prostitutes, murderers, and gang members -- and that's just the PASTORAL STAFF. I feel my job is to throw buckets of grace on people every day, because it's the only way people can make it! After all, how in the world is telling a 20 year heroin addict "you should be ashamed of yourself" going to create any change? Those reactions simply send people back to the cold, dark, alleys for another hit.
God hasn't called us to "Repeat the obvious," that people have sinned (...pretty sure they know it), but to show them a bright future which they never dreamed possible. I would rather stand before God and hear him say, "You were too forgiving" than to miss all the Angel-unawares, in the form of hurting people, upon whom I simply gave up.
I am proud to be a part of POTSC and to destroy shame and raise up a generation of wounded warriors who become city janitors. Walking through the streets of our cities, picking up broken pieces, and telling them they can dream again!
Matthew Barnett Senior Pastor LA Dream Center/Angelus Temple