(Review) The Face of Forgiveness: A Pastoral Theology of Shame and Redemption by Philip D. Jamieson
Jesus alone reveals both the fullness of God and the necessary human response to God's reality. And even more precisely, Jesus' face is the face of eternal love, a love that is steadfast and sure...The secondary truth is completely dependent on the first one. Without a realization of the first, we dare not contemplate the second one...how I live my life, how I respond to my neighbor and to God's gracious overtures, will either empower or weaken my ability to perceive that first and primary truth. Pages 9-10.Jamieson goes on to further explain, we run in shame away from the God of love. God loves us and He does not turn away from us, but we turn away from Him.
The book answers the primary question as to why we turn away from God. In a later chapter, six "defending strategies" are taught.
The Face of Forgiveness is addressed mainly to those people who have a hard time forgiving themselves.
Several points are explored: God's work in forgiving, guilt, shame, misinformation about forgiveness, and confession.
My first thought while reading this book is Jamieson writes with an attitude of mercy and tenderness.
I'm happy he made a point of including in the book those people in the church who do not extend grace and mercy. We've all witnessed, or even felt, those church members who with brazen eyes condemn.
Jamieson uses the temptation and fall in the Garden of Eden-Adam and Eve's sin, as a primary Scripture passage. Adam and Eve hid from God after they sinned, because they felt shame.
My favorite section is pages 52-67. The first subtitle of this section is "The Subjective Nature of Guilt." Several points in this section rang true for me in my life (in looking back in my life.) I literally ran away as a teenager, because of shame over a sin I'd not even committed. This was just one reason I ran away, but a strong contributing factor.
The beauty of the book is God is love. "Jesus is the face that will not look away from us."