|(picture from el.board.bigpoint.com)|
Let’s face it, we have all felt shame.
Some of us have endured it many times. Whether for an instant or it’s clung to us for a lifetime, the anguish can be crippling.
People dream about being naked in a public place. You may have even had that dream yourself. You may have awakened feeling shame, as if it had really happened. Even in a dream, shame is suffocating.
Whether the shame was brought on by foolishness or a mistake on our part, or imparted to us by a thoughtless and perhaps cruel person, its weight can be crushing.
Even when attention is diverted from you and the shameful spotlight is turned off; the feeling can linger and hide in the back of your mind, waiting to present itself again unexpectedly.
Shame is more than mere embarrassment. Its first entry at dictionary.com reads: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc, done by oneself or another. Another entry reads: disgrace, ignominy. If we probe deeper, disgrace is defined: the loss of respect, honor or esteem; ignominy; shame. Yes, I had to look up that funny sounding word, too. Ignominy means: disgrace; dishonor; shameful.
Scripture has a lot to say about shame; the Psalmist himself uses the word quite a bit as he pens what his heart pours out. In the NIV Bible we can find the word shame at least 147 times, and at least 112 times in the KJV. We are definitely not alone in this experience.
The first time I see shame noted is when Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden, they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25) Why is this pointed out to us?
Before sin, there was no shame. Sin disgraced man, stripping him of righteousness, and brought shame into the world, along with a host of other consequences. Although we can feel shame without committing a sin, it didn’t exist when Adam and Eve were one with God. Sin and rebellion separated them from God; and in that separation, even their nakedness became something they sought to hide. When shame comes upon us, we want to hide.
If sin (therefore, separation from God) brought shame, how better to get rid of it than by being reunited with God? Nothing we do in and of ourselves can bridge that gap. But, God provided a means of redemption, through His Son Jesus, the Christ. By accepting that Jesus took our sin, and all the shame that goes with it, to the grave, exchanging His death for our lives, we are redeemed. That act of grace (unmerited favor) provides the remedy for our dis-grace. We are reunited with the Father, taking on His robes of righteousness to clothe our exposed, vulnerable nakedness. This nakedness is more than the absence of clothing; sin disrobes us of righteousness, a covering in which there is no shame.
When we give ourselves to God, He doesn’t only want the good things He created in us, He wants it all; the good, the bad and the ugly. He takes our sin and shame and separates it from us as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12 KJV)
God won’t force us into a life of freedom, but He offers it to us, generously.
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:10-11 NIV