Shame

Shame is a complicated emotion. Most of us work really hard to hide it. Shame really is a natural by product of sin. We sin and we feel shame because we know we messed up. One definition of shame says that it is a feeling of unworthiness or disgrace. There are two kinds of shame. There is the shame we feel when we sin but there is also the shame thrown on us by other's sins. The wife who has discovered her husbands unfaithfulness will feel a sense of shame even though she did nothing wrong. The person who has suffered abuse will feel shame not because they did wrong but they were wronged. Like I said, it's complicated.

Everyone will have to deal with shame at some point. We all mess up. The shame we feel when we mess up is not something God has thrown on us to condemn us and remind us of our sin. In fact, God does not cast shame on anyone. It is not in His nature to do so. We feel shame when we sin because it conflicts with our spirit to sin. We have to remember that God created us to be perfect and while we are now born into a sinful nature, the mark of perfection is still on our hearts. The desire to be that perfect creation wars with our flesh and so, when we mess up we feel it, we know it, we regret it. The trick of the enemy is to convince you and me that we are ruined because we have messed up. A lot of people live life under the false pretense that they are damaged beyond repair and so there is no hope.

The shame that is cast on us by sins committed against us leaves us feeling beyond repair also. We may know that we didn't do anything wrong, but we still feel regret because wrong was done to us..something was stolen  or we feel used in some way. This complicated, frustrating, confusing emotion can stop God's work in our lives if we let it. From experience, I would say that the hard part to overcome is the idea that I can not fellowship with God because I am dirty and unlovable. Well, this idea contradicts the very point of the cross.
The stain on humanity was great indeed but Jesus changed things. The stain is no longer the focus, but the cleansing is. Jesus took on the cross not just for sins I would commit but for sins committed against me. He conquered all the frustrating complexity tied up in sin. I admit, sometimes that emotion and feeling of brokenness can overwhelm the mind and heart and the cross can seem very far from our reach...but the simple truth is that it is not far. No matter what was done to us or what we did, the cross is always right there. The truth is that Jesus conquered all of this once and once is enough. We are deceived by the enemy in thinking that our shame is beyond repair, our shame makes us untouchable or unlovable. The atonement is done. The work is finished. We are no longer beyond repair. Our shame is no longer to great. There is never again to be anything that separates us from God.

Shame is often associated with religion. This is true because we equate shame with broken rules. What we quickly forget is that Jesus said He came to fulfill the law. This means that the law is no longer the focus but the forgiveness, restoration and redemption are the focus. Yes, before Christ the law was the focus. There was no other way for man to fellowship with God. Our sin did get in the way....but not now. Religion will tell us that it is still about the rules and so we carry the heaviness of shame because we see no way to fix our mess. That's just it though. The cross is about the very fact that I cannot erase my shame or brokenness. The cross is about the very fact that I am incapable of fulfilling the law. The cross is about one law only...the law of love.  We struggle to understand how a perfect God can love us in our shame but that is the beauty of love. It is not earned it is given freely. Jesus really did make a way. He bridged the gap between our shame and God's love. Nothing can stop us now but us. It is true that to have a meaningful relationship with God we must recognize our sin and brokenness but we need not hold on to it. We simply throw it at the feet of Jesus.

So what then should we say? Can anything separate us from God's love? Can death or life or angels or demons or things present or things to come or height or depth or anything be able to separate us from God's love? No, I am convinced that we overcome all these things through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) It is true my friend. Our sin, our shame, our regret and our brokenness cannot separate us from the love of God. He has overcome the flesh and now we can walk in the Spirit free of shame and condemnation.

I have found freedom from shame and I now know that I am clean in the eyes of Jesus. He waits for you to be free. Walk away from your condemnation and walk into His forgiveness that redeems. Walk away from your brokenness and walk into His mercy and restoration. His love is everlasting and He waits eagerly for your embrace.

"But in all these things we overcome because He has loved us." Romans 8:37

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