The word “shame” is tossed around by many in today’s society. We’re told that “shaming” anyone over their race, gender, status, or appearance is despicable. A vast majority of those who so loudly proclaim the dangers of “shaming” another are actually living with shame themselves, and don’t even realize it!
Are you living with shame in various areas of your life? To find out, we must first take a look at the definition of shame – a feeling of distress that comes because you’re conscious of the fact that your actions are wrong or foolish. The key word in this statement, surprisingly enough, is CONSCIOUS! Our society is extremely performance-conscious. In the world in which we live, we get what we deserve. If we do the right thing, we can expect to avoid punishment, and may even be rewarded for it. If we do the wrong thing (or something those in our lives consider to be wrong, anyway!), we can expect negative repercussions. This being the reality of our everyday lives, it’s no wonder we have a difficult time understanding and walking in God’s grace.
Grace at it’s core goes directly against our most basic instincts. We all know that we’re far from perfect, and our sense of justice tells us that we deserve some form of punishment for our mistakes. Grace says that not only did Jesus take that punishment for us so we no longer have to receive the bad we deserve, but that He also died to justify us in God’s eyes, so we can now be given the good we don’t merit. This mindset of receiving blessings you know you don’t deserve runs directly against our daily experience, which conditions us to focus exclusively on our own actions when it comes to determining what we expect from life. As a result, without even realizing it, we walk around with a perpetual sense of shame – an indescribable feeling of discomfort resulting from the wrong and just plain foolish things that we do on a daily basis.
The truth of the matter is that as long as we’re on this earth, we ARE going to make mistakes from time to time. This being the case, how do we get rid of the sense of shame we walk around with? By no longer being CONSCIOUS of our actions, and instead being conscious of what Christ did for us! Because He gave His life for us, we become right with God not by doing all the right things but rather by believing the right things – by putting our faith in Him and His perfection. Once we’ve done this, His perfection covers us, making us righteous in God’s eyes and qualifying us to receive all of the good gifts He has for us. If we could only adopt this mindset, shame would be permanently banished!
In what areas of your life are you carrying around a burden of shame? How is it impacting what you expect to happen to you? Ask God to reveal to you just how righteous Christ has made you, be conscious of His finished work instead of your actions, and experience continual freedom from a life filled with shame!
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