We’ve all felt it at one time or another, haven’t we?
We’ve all done things we certainly wouldn’t expect to see announced in the church bulletin.
Could you just imagine?
“Pot-luck dinner Sunday at six, and speaking of pot, Sylvia used to smoke it, and sources say she still does.”
Or how about this one:
“Prayer walk on 42nd street, same block Samantha worked a few years ago.”
“AA meeting in room 105, Sunday School building-and by the way, Kathy fell off the wagon again.”
Now imagine this: What if everyone found out everything?
I know I’ve done things I’m not particularly proud of, and I’m sure you have too. I’ve even had women say to me, “well, someday I’ll tell you about it.” And I say, “well, why not today?”
Truth is, some people already know about some of it, and God knows about all of it,
so instead of letting shame hold us hostage, let’s look to the One who paid our ransom.
Because after all, what are we so ashamed of?
Of course, it’s sin. Sin makes us shameful. But we have this hope; confess our sins and they’re washed away. Repentance brings freedom. Right?
So if Jesus washes away the sins, why do we keep buying spray and wash for the stain of shame?
Because the enemy lies, telling us we have to keep treating the stains. We’ve got to stop believing it.
Here’s the truth: The stains are gone, and Jesus shamed shame.
In researching death on the cross, we find it was considered a death of shame. The Reformation Study Bible tells us that Roman citizens were forbidden to be put to death on the cross, and the Jews believed everyone who hung on a tree was cursed by God.
But Jesus shamed the shame by turning that tree of shame into our saving grace. Then He rose from the dead to seal what He was sent to accomplish.
So yeah, we need to be the church of the redeemed, not the church of the shamed. I don’t mean to sound preachy, but while we’re at it, let’s take the plank out of our own eyes. The plank called hypocrisy.
Through Christ we can throw off shame and stop throwing it at others.
I told my Grace Story at a women’s event a few years ago. Teenage pregnancy, shame, feelings of not fitting in anymore, abandoned by most friends. Then I had a beautiful son named Michael. I wasn’t ashamed of my son, but for years I felt the shame of being that girl who disappeared from school.
You know what happened afterwards? Countless women in the audience couldn’t wait to tell me it had happened to them too.
What are you going through today?
Whatever it may be, there are others who have already made it through.
How did they make it through?
They were changed through Christ, and their faith sustained them. That’s the Grace Story.
Maybe you are the one who made it through. Your testimony can be that common thread of hope to share with others.
We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, those who have gone before us to show us the way.
But there is One who goes before us who is The Way. He replaces our shame with faith.
Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus.
What does fix mean anyway? If you google it, you get this:
direct one’s eyes, attention, or mind steadily or unwaveringly toward.
fasten (something) securely in a particular place or position.
So let’s fix and fasten.
- Fix our eyes on Jesus, and fasten our faith to Him.
- Activate dormant faith through seeking God ~ the Holy Spirit brings fresh eyes to see the needs of others.
- Initiate a training program to run the race – the prayers, the Word, the work.
- Train others~ because faith comes through hearing the Word, our training manual.
- Hand off the baton ~ multiplying workers for the harvest. We’re not meant to go it alone.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
It’s time to put off the shame, and put on faith with works.
Where are you called to serve?