The Shame Game

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but rather that the world might be saved through Him.” ~ John 3:17

I have been hearing lately, across the board from Christians everywhere, that there is this feeling of shame we have when it comes to how we act. “_____ is going on in my life, and I know God wouldn’t approve so I’m not praying about it” or “I did _____, and I actually liked it and I’m not ready to stop yet so I’m going to ignore Jesus.”  Or even “I’ve fallen away and lost my focus on God, and I’m ashamed for it because I know better.”

Well. Regarding the first two…just cause you ignore God doesn’t mean God ignores you. God saw you anyway, and you’re totally busted. So you can stop worrying about hiding it. You’re welcome.

In all seriousnes though, God knows that we are going to make mistakes and get distracted. That doesn’t mean we’re suddenly not worthy of Him. We weren’t worthy of Him to begin with! He loves us anyway. He knows our hearts, He sees the good and the bad, and He loves us anyway. He loves you anyway. You. Yeah YOU. He sees YOU, and loves YOU, and wants walk beside you and be close to you. Not because of what you did or didn’t do. But because He created you and loves you (yes, you).

This feeling of guilt and shame is not part of who Jesus is. Yes, we all have work to do in our lives. No, none of us our perfect. Yes, we all have sins to repent. But that’s why we have the chance to repent in the first place. We repent (true repentence), and we’re forgiven. I bet there are people who harbor guilt their whole lives, get up to those pearly gates and when judgement is read, they find that a lot of their most guilty moments aren’t even mentioned. “But what about the time that I ___?” And I bet God will answer “What are you talking about? No such sin exists in my book.” Why not? You clearly remember doing it, after all. But then you repented, and the slate was wiped clean. Acts 3:19 tells us repent, therefore, and turn to God, so that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Blotted out. As in, no longer a factor. Suddenly nonexistent. That’s how much we’re forgiven. And He is there, waiting to give us that. Try it. You’ll see.

If you’ve read my posts before, I’m a big fan of transparency in the Christian walk. When we’re doing something right, it’s an encouragement to others. And we all need encouragement! When we mess up, it’s a testimony to God’s faithfulness and forgiveness in spite of ourselves, and it opens us up to prayer support that we so greatly need. If we get judged in the process…yes, that hurts. But it only hurts our pride, and we shouldn’t have too much of that anyway.  And hey, Jesus was judged too, so just look at it as doing something right!

But we can’t be forgiven if we don’t talk to God about it and repent in our hearts. I firmly believe that the longlasting guilt and shame we feel is a lie directly from the enemy himself. It’s a trick. If he puts the thought in our head that we need to hide from God because of what we did, and we listen and we do hide…..suddenly we’re not repenting. We’re not talking to God about it. We’re not getting forgiven because we aren’t asking to be forgiven. And that’s exactly where Satan wants us. Not God.

So beware of guilt and shame. If you have guilt, please oh please oh please don’t hide in it. Submit it. Give it to God, and let Him get you through it. When you don’t want to tell your confidante or prayer partner about something, because you’re scared of what they’ll say, that’s probably when you need to pick up the phone immediately and call them up or get praying with them. My prayer partner and I have offended each other on occasion when weighing in on each other’s lives. But we developed a zone, the ‘no offense’ zone, where we acknowledge that we are speaking out of love. God comes into this zone with us and helps give us the words to say and guards our reactions, and it works. When we’re in the zone of “I’m not getting offended no matter what you say” and we actually talk things through, and then pray together…..it’s never as big a deal as it was in our heads. 

So send that text. Pick up the phone. Get the prayer support that you need to get through it. Heck, if you don’t have a prayer partner email me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com, and I’ll pray through it with you.  Most of all, pray yourself. Don’t hide. It’s impossible to do anyway; He still sees you. Hiding only hurts you. And wouldn’t you rather have the weight be lifted off anyway? So I invite you today to put God’s faithfulness to the test. You’ll find Him just as loving and merciful as ever.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

 

 

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8 thoughts on “The Shame Game

  1. “And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt …”

    In eight places God has instructed His people to remember their bondage and not to forget it (Ex 13:3, De 5:15, De 9:7, De 15:15, De 16:3, De 16:12, De 24:18, De 24:22). I have always these admonitions to the necessity of believers to never lose their shame for what they were before Christ rescued and forgave them. Guilt is one thing; it is a legal state of ones being when they are a debtor by offense. But shame is a matter of conscience and the heart, when one fully knows they were wrong and have entered a place of mourning and repentance.

    Consider the words of Ezra when he heard of the sins of the Israelites forsaking God’s words and were “doing according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons. So the holy seed has mixed themselves with the people of those lands. Yes, the hand of the leaders and overseers has been chief in this sin.” Ezra cried out, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”
    Eventually God became angered and His longsuffering was exhausted. Therefore He could have no more mercy for the people no longer remembered their sins or bondage therefore felt no shame.

    Jer 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

    Jer 8:12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

    God’s is a merciful and gracious God who mercy is as high as the heavens, but He will by no means clear the guilty. For he can never grant the wonders of His mercy to those who cannot see their poverty of spirit and won.t mourn over their sins. It is the meek that inherit the earth because they no longer defend or justify their past, rather they humbly stand confessing and mourning before a God now moved with compassion ready to fulfill their hunger and thirst for righteousness. These are the pure in heart that shall see God on favorable terms, for He will not be ashamed to call them His people because they were ashamed of their sins against Him.

    I stress to my kids, receive God’s forgiveness and recognize the guilt of your sins have been satisfied by the blood of your Savior…but never lose the shame of what you did or who you were, for the day you do you are closer to going back into those sins then you think. Remember a godly sorrow works a repentance that need no repenting of, rather works and keeps us unto eternal life. Rejoice in who you are now in Christ, but keep that precious truth in the light of your shame, just as a jeweler contrasts on the beauty of a diamond against the black velvet cloth.

    Live for the King
    William

  2. William, thanks for your comment. And I agree. The shame you mention is in the context of someone who has already sought forgiveness and their shame is a reminder of where they were so they don’t go back there. I was talking about shame in the context of people who are actively in sin, or have fallen away, and their shame prevents them from seeking God in the first place for fear of His judgement. That kind of shame, the kind of shame that prevents somebody from praying or keeps someone from seeking God because they feel like they’re doing something wrong and need to hide from Him (shame born of fear basically), is not a godly shame. That’s what I was trying to warn people against with this post. It seems to be all too common lately.

    • Amen Rebekah, I agreed. It seem too often believers make too light of sin at time and soon find themselves in a quandary, but I think that is because as we agree they have abandon somewhere on their journey that godly shame, or perhaps never really had because they were never truly enlighten by the Holy Spirit and really saved from their sins.

      This whole subject today has brought to mind part of John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress where he encounters a believer who foolishly played with his sins and found himself in the greatest despair –
      (Taken from – http://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm)
      The Interpreter of course represents the Holy Spirit –
      “…Then the Interpreter took him, and led him up towards the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in; but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his inkhorn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw also, that in the doorway stood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, Set down my name, Sir: the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, he cut his way through them all [Acts 14:22], and pressed forward into the palace, at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying–“Come in, come in; Eternal glory thou shalt win.”
      So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they. Then Christian smiled and said; I think verily I know the meaning of this.
      Now, said Christian, let me go hence. Nay, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have shewed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go on thy way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage.
      Now the man, to look on, seemed very sad; he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together, and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, What means this? At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.
      Then said Christian to the man, What art thou? The man answered, I am what I was not once.
      CHRISTIAN – What wast thou once?
      MAN – The man said, I was once a fair and flourishing professor, both in mine own eyes, and also in the eyes of others; I once was, as I thought, fair for the Celestial City, and had then even joy at the thoughts that I should get thither. [Luke 8:13]
      CHRISTIAN – Well, but what art thou now?
      MAN – I am now a man of despair, and am shut up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out. Oh, now I cannot!
      CHRISTIAN – But how camest thou in this condition?
      MAN – I left off to watch and be sober. I laid the reins, upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the Word and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and he has left me: I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.
      Then said Christian to the Interpreter, But is there no hope for such a man as this? Ask him, said the Interpreter. Nay, said Christian, pray, Sir, do you.
      INTERPRETER – Then said the Interpreter, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair?
      MAN – No, none at all.
      INTERPRETER – Why, the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.
      MAN – I have crucified him to myself afresh [Heb. 6:6]; I have despised his person [Luke 19:14]; I have despised his righteousness; I have “counted his blood an unholy thing”; I have “done despite to the Spirit of grace”. [Heb. 10:28-29] Therefore I have shut myself out of all the promises, and there now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, fearful threatenings, of certain judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour me as an adversary.
      INTERPRETER – For what did you bring yourself into this condition?
      MAN – For the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight; but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.
      INTERPRETER – But canst thou not now repent and turn?
      MAN – God hath denied me repentance. His Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, himself hath shut me up in this iron cage; nor can all the men in the world let me out. O eternity, eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in eternity!
      INTERPRETER – Then said the Interpreter to Christian, Let this man’s misery be remembered by thee, and be an everlasting caution to thee.
      CHRISTIAN – Well, said Christian, this is fearful! God help me to watch and be sober, and to pray that I may shun the cause of this man’s misery!

      BTW, I really enjoy your perspective on things . . . find it refreshing.

      William

    • Thank you for your kind words. On behalf of Rebekah A (the author of this post), I can say that we don’t mind at all if you reblog any of our posts. If you are interested in reblogging this post: first make sure you are logged in to your wordpress account. Then simply click the “Reblog” button at the top of this frame (it’s next to the “Like” button). After that, a little box will pop up that will allow you to add a few of your own thoughts if you want to. Then just press the blue reblog button and it will show up on your blog. Thanks again for your interest!

      • I just realized you might have meant adding a link to our blog to your sidebar. If that’s the case what you want to do is go to the dashboard on your wordpress account. Then choose “appearance” from the menu on the left hand side. Then choose “widgets”. Then choose “links” and drag it over to the sidebar on the right hand side. At that point you can add the url rebekah.com (or any other link you want) on your site. Good luck 🙂

  3. Pingback: A Daddy’s Chastisement | Being Rebekah

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