During childhood we developed an internal Loyal Soldier (largely from our parents’ early warnings) whose mission was to keep us safe. Our Loyal Soldier created and deployed whatever strategies were necessary to assure our social, psychological, and physical survival.

The voices of the Loyal Soldier are pre-rational, immediate, deep, constant, and unconscious, and they feel like absolute right and wrong. They become for us the very voice of God (resulting in our distorted, punitive images of God). These voices determine what we value and what we disvalue. They are usually shame- or guilt-based and very good for social order and control, which are first-half-of-life concerns.

There is a deeper voice of God, which you must learn to hear and obey in the second half of life. It will sound like the voice of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of common sense, of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of your deepest self. You need to discriminate the voices of the Loyal Soldier from the voice of the Holy Spirit. God never leads by guilt or shame! The deeper faith journey begins when you start to listen to and follow God’s inner voice, and not just shame-based early conditioning. God leads by loving the soul at ever-deeper levels, not by shaming at superficial levels.

from The Spirituality of Imperfection

emphasis mine

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