There is a modern orthodoxy that says no secular people actually believe in sin, guilt and shame. But on Saturday the UK newspaper The Guardian published the article ‘Would he disapprove of my single heathen lifestyle?’: me and my Syrian refugee lodger. Which as the title suggests, is about a single, non-religious, white, British lady named Jenny and a Syrian refugee that she took in named Yassir.

Now  this a commendable deed that Jenny has done. What is interesting however is her reason for taking Yassir in. She says:
“I thought having Yasser to stay would be a kind of atonement for mistakes I have made in my life, but his presence has made me feel guilty. Guilty for what I have, for the easy life I lead, for complaining about trivial things.”
There are three things to note here.
1. She believes she has done bad things she is guilty of.
2. She is looking to have her guilt taken away.
3. In looking to deal with her guilt and shame herself she only encounters more guilt and shame.
The problem with our secular society is that deep down we all have a gnawing feeling that we have done wrong, we all have guilt. But our society can’t give us any way to assuage that guilt that is actually successful. Only in Jesus do we find someone who will take away our guilt and shame and a new identity. Out of which we can do good things, like helping refugees, not to atone for our sin but because he first loved us and so we want to love others as we have been loved.
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