Monday, January 21, 2013

Overcoming Shame

The ugliness of shame makes me shudder.  It is a covering of darkness thrown over us by the enemy as a tool to take us captive.  With it, Satan blinds us to the rock-solid truth of Christ’s love, thereby stealing our joy and carrying us away as though a spoil of war.

I believe that all of us carry some measure of shame.  Often it stems from sin or other past events that we choose to keep hidden.  We’d simply rather not discuss it.  Shame is a secret.   It is far different from guilt, which says, “I made a mistake.”  Shame says, “I am a mistake.”  There is no part of life that is unaffected by the burden of the shame that we carry. 

This week marks 40 years of legalized abortion in America through Roe v. Wade, and it is recorded that 1.5 million abortions are performed each year.  Millions of women struggle with shame over this issue and carry deep hurt and regret.  Shame also comes from sources of…

Adultery                 Addictions                      Sin                         

Debt                      Condemnation                Eating Disorders

Incest                    Obesity                            Crime

Rape                      Anger                             Abandonment

I could go on for hours with such a list.  Whether I’ve named your particular source of shame or not, you know what I’m talking about.  Satan makes us feel alone, as if we are the only one in the world with such an ugly past.  Remember that Satan is a liar and regardless of your source of shame, you are not alone!

There is forgiveness, redemption and healing at the Cross!  Confessing our past to Him and sharing our heartfelt regret and sorrow (as David did in Psalm 51), brings freedom and helps us accept the healing that Christ offers.

“Imagine yourself captive in a jail cell.  You are weeping and lamenting because prison is awful.  Jesus stands at the jail cell, waiting for you.  He wants to set you free and says, ‘Give yourself to me and come out!’  He has already paid the bond, overcome the enemy, and unlocked the door to the jail cell so that you are free to leave.  All you must do is make a choice to leave the prison, decide to open the door, and follow Him to accept your freedom.

Many times, we choose to stay in the jail cell.  We believe that we have finally done or experienced the one thing that is too big for the redemptive work of the cross.  The role of victim is comfortable and we feel safe in our chains of captivity.  Jesus provides for our freedom, but we lack the willingness to move forward toward Him.   You may have heard stories of those incarcerated for many years that lose confidence to function outside of the prison walls.  The thought of freedom is terrifying to them because they have forgotten how to navigate life on their own.  Conversely, when Christ offers freedom, He lives it out with us!

He does not scorn us, turn His back on us, nor leave us in our shameful state.  Isn’t it time you joined Him beyond the cell of your shame and enjoyed your freedom with Him and His people?” *

Confess it.  Receive His unending forgiveness.  Move in confidence toward the joy set before you and delight in His goodness with unhindered celebration!

Isaiah 54:4a  
Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; 
Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; 
But you will forget the shame of your youth

* Excerpt from Finding Joy in the Journey: Savoring the Fruit of the Spirit (available here).

No comments:

Post a Comment