The word shame is mentioned so many times these days it seems there’s no other word in the English vocabulary. It’s talked about so often in sermons, books, lectures and therapy sessions that it has lost its meaning. We’re supposed to believe everyone feels shame and it’s the biggest problem out there that people are grappling with.
That might be true if you’re trying to restore someone’s self-esteem. If it’s meant to describe feelings of embarrassment, then everybody has felt it one time or another. For example, at not being prepared for an interview and you were caught off-guard with a question. Or when you forgot your lines in the school play. Or when you weren’t dressed appropriately at a gathering. These are common experiences that make people feel insecure and unacceptable.
But nowadays shame is being used in a therapeutic sense. It’s the popular word for feeling you’re not enough, you’re wrong as a person, you’re unwanted.
Someone gave you the message and you believed it. And from that moment on you made it your life’s mission to find ways to overcome it.
While this might be true of you, it doesn’t go deep enough. God says real shame is refusing to believe who he is for you. You prefer living in unbelief instead of embracing the God who loves you. You’re holding on to the message your parents or peers gave you from the past.
Everyone has those messages living in their heads. They’re common to the human race because sin is common to the human race.
You can overcome these messages, but that won’t win the war for your soul. Only by turning to God, the author of your life, and believing his love for you, by giving you Christ to redeem you and bring you back to your true home, will you be right with him and your own soul.
Christ took your shame (your unbelief) on the cross and it died there. And it was buried in the tomb with him. It’s dead. And when Christ was resurrected he gave you his new life. There is no shame mixed in there. Look all you want. It’s gone. You’re now free from those condemning voices to follow only one voice – the Father’s. And his voice is affirming, loving, and gracious.
Talk to me.
God doesn’t deal with us according to our sins. Why? Because he paid the price for our redemption in his Son. He held him responsible for them, therefore he doesn’t hold us. He lets us go free. That’s the Good News of the gospel. If you aren’t hearing this in church, in the books you’re reading, among your friends, you’re missing the joy of this glorious truth.
Dance instead of mourn!
God’s grace is bigger than your sin. You can’t be guilty enough. You can’t resolve to do better. Therapy won’t get you out of the hole either. It will just stir things up and muddy your heart.
Instead, look upward. “It is finished,” Jesus cried on the cross. For you. For me.
God put us on the cross with him, then in the grave, and then raised us with him on the third day.
The trash heap of our former lives is gone.
We are new in Christ. Our lives are wrapped in Christ now. That’s our identity.
His forgiveness is what is true of us today, tomorrow, and every day.
Go out and tell others today! Especially other Christians.
Talk to me.
Rev. William Willimon said in reference to the resurrection, “A dead body got loose.”
I love it.
Not only did a dead body get loose, but the only body to walk out of the grave.
Have you spent time thinking about the resurrection lately? I have. Maybe because it’s springtime and all the blossoms and tender green shoots are shouting at me. It’s God social media to a dying world.
I was on a hike last week surrounded by brilliant blue skies, a gurgling creek, and trees bursting with new life.
I found myself looking around at the breathtaking scenery, taking in the magnificence of God’s handiwork. Who but God could have designed green and blue and yellow and put them together.
I stumbled across a baby rattle snake with skin that rivaled anything in today’s fashion styles.
And yet most of my fellow hikers were plugged into their headsets with their eyes on the ground.
The outdoors is speaking God’s message for all to hear.
There’s life to be embraced in the one who got away from death.
As C. S. Lewis put it, “Christianity is a world that is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going around the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.”
Look up and think about that today.
Talk to me.