I have a confession to make. I am twenty-three years old, and am just learning how to drive. It’s a huge victory in my battle with a chronic illness that prevented me from driving. But it’s also a struggle.
Learning to drive isn’t easy–at least not for me (and not for the poor souls who help me practice). And to be honest, it makes me anxious. Though I am getting better with every lesson, I still feel a terrible, self-defeating feeling that shrouds me in darkness.
I’m talking about shame.
The Poison of Shame
Merriam-Webster defines shame as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” This feeling, lovely reader, is the weapon the devil uses to try and condemn us.
It’s normal and healthy to feel guilty when one does something wrong. Guilt can lead us to repentance, which then sets us free. It’s also normal to feel insecure, which again, can also be freeing when we learn to seek our worth in Christ.
But what about that feeling of condemnation, no matter how many times you repent? What about that feeling of not being good enough, no matter how hard you try?
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 NIV)
Shame is a poison that seeps into our lives even when we are born again in Christ. We have to remember that we are dead to sin, and that Christ nailed all condemnation to the cross. It’s not our sin that makes us feel condemned, but the shame that the enemy uses to make us believe we are separated from God.
The Power of the Cross
…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 12:2 NIV)
As a Christian, I have heard the story of the cross countless times. But what really makes me understand Christ’s sacrifice is watching a movie or reenactment of the crucifixion. Then I can clearly see the shame Jesus bore while he was mocked, stripped, and beaten–all alone.
And guess what? He did it for me, and He did it for you! Our God chose to take on human form in order to understand the temptations we face and the struggles we battle. Though Jesus knew no sin, He did know our shame. And He took it upon Himself in order to free us and bring us eternal joy.
Freedom from Shame
‘“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.’ (Isaiah 54:4 NIV)
We all make mistakes. We all have our weaknesses and failures. And we all sin–no matter how hard we try not to. It’s part of the human condition. The good news is that we can always run to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.
I know that I’m not perfect, and that learning to drive, like all things, takes patience. Although at times I may fail, I know that God always brings good out of the bad.
Jesus is the fresh start from our past mistakes. He is our joy and strength, despite our human weakness. Jesus is our freedom from sin and the shame that binds us.
The truth about shame is that it’s a lie. A lie meant to steal, kill, and destroy God’s precious children. But we have access to the only antidote on earth–the powerful and freeing truth of the love of Jesus.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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