Richard Rohr’s concept of God’s love changing us vs. using shame to motivate us. I am guilty of both using shame to change myself and others, especially those I say I love.
Those who pray learn to favor and prefer God’s judgment over that of human beings. God always outdoes us in generosity and in receptivity. God is always more loving than the person who has loved you the most! All you can bring is today’s latest product, whatever it is, for a new dose of love. It will always be immature on some level. It will always be inadequate, but that is not the point. It is not the perfection of the gift, but the willingness to lovingly offer the gift that pleases all parents and surely then the “Super Parent” that some of us call God.
God does not lead the soul by shaming it, just as a good parent would not shame their child. It doesn’t work anyway. We all have done it at times, and if we were raised in a punitive way ourselves, we still tend to think that is the way to motivate people—by shaming them or making them feel guilty. I’ve done it enough and I’ve received it enough to know that it eventually backfires. It never works. We close down and stop trusting after that, and we use all kinds of defense mechanisms to avoid further vulnerability. So God’s way actually works—to love us at even more deeper levels than we can know or love ourselves. It is really quite wonderful, and one wonders why anyone would want to miss out on this. – Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations