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Learning From Your Shame - A Self Help Guide By Rev. John D. Finkletter.

Can you recall your top three most shameful moments? We all can. Everyone at some point in their lives has done things they later came to regret, committed acts that hurt themselves or others. We’d like to take those moments and stuff them into a dark closet with our hockey sticks and severed genitalia and never have to remember them again. But you know what? The Lord doesn’t want us to do that. He wants us to learn from our shame.

Many people look at me and say, "Rev. John, you are a reverend - one of God’s perfect agents. There can’t be anything you’ve done that you’re ashamed of." Oh, if only that were true my friends. You’ll be surprised to know that even someone who appears to be as noble and prestigious as myself has done some pretty low down things. But I did learn from these embarrassing moments of my past. And that’s why I’d like to share some of them with you.

One experience that will always haunt me was the first time I went on trial for molesting Todd Rutherspoon, a local teenager. For weeks up until my testimony in court I’d been telling all of my parishioners that Todd Rutherspoon was a troubled boy who had probably gotten involved with heavy metal music and satanic religions. I was also accusing his mother of exercising absolutely no discipline on her child and being a sinful whore. Needless to say, I looked pretty foolish when I arrived in court and discovered that Todd had actually captured some of our final clandestine moments on videotape. How was I supposed to deny having any idea what a nipple clamp was when there I was on the video screen with one affixed to my chest?

I made a point to learn from the experience, however, and I had plenty of time to think about it during my eight year incarceration. If I was to pass any knowledge on to other individuals who are abusing their authority and having a sexual relationship with a 13 year old it would be this - "Keep an eye our for a camera!" The fetish toys and crucifix you’ve so innocently incorporated into your sex play may actually hide something far more sinister.

Another shameful moment I learned from was the time I was caught stuffing the entirety of the collections made during morning mass into my pockets. I was back in my office, gladly counting out the roll of one dollar bills I needed to use to pay off my gambling debts and in walks Mrs. Nikeman from the third pew. You’d think I would’ve at least had the good sense to shut the door! I felt pretty silly trying to get Mrs. Nikeman to believe I was actually emptying my wallet into the collection bowl as opposed to the truth. And it was a very shameful feeling to see the look in her eyes, as I, her bastion of God’s holy word, was revealed to be nothing more than a lying, cheating thief.

But I didn’t walk away empty handed from the experience. These days I often wait several days before taking my flock’s offerings, and even then, I do it in the middle of the night when no-one can barge in on me. (We certainly don’t need anymore Mrs. Nikemans - God rest her soul.) I’ve also learned to invest my money into real estate as opposed to spending it on flashy Cadillacs and expensive feather boas that can arouse suspicion.

A final embarrassing experience was the time I tried to sell God’s forgiveness to someone who turned out to be an undercover detective working for the Vatican. He seemed quite interested when I told him that I could use my connection with God to allow him to practice homosexuality and continue working for the IRS while still getting into Heaven, but his mood turned sour when he snapped the cuffs on me and hustled me into the car. Then I only made matters worse by having him turn down my offer of providing him oral sex in exchange for releasing me. Turned out he was a family man who’d been married for 17 years. I was so humiliated.

I’m not sure I really learned anything from that shameful moment, but you should certainly try to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you!

If you’d like to learn more about how God wants you to learn from your shameful moments, read the bible. Many of the men and women in both the old and new testament had to experience some pretty dark moments before they were granted God’s holy knowledge. I can’t recall specific sections or passages, but trust me, they’re in there.

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