Monday, January 18, 2010

tsk tsk

Shame is an incredibly powerful human emotion - one that I have struggled with most of my life.  The reason that shame is so devastating, is because it the number one hinderance in relationships. Shame keeps us alone and isolated, unable to reach out in our perceived inferiority, and unable to even ponder God as we cower in His holiness. Taken to its logical extreme, shame is a killer. People say, "I just died." And it's not far from true. Shame is what drove me to try to take my own life several times. defines it:

 [sheym]  noun, verb, shamed,sham⋅ing.–noun

the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.
a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn't come with us.

I was struck this morning while reading in Genesis (doing a little OT catch up), by the count of Adam and Eve's eyes being opened in the garden.

The first human emotion they experienced after sin entered the world was shame.  Genesis 3:7 "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."   So many times, when I would find myself ashamed, I would try to cover it up. Backpedal, make excuses, hide, even run - physically run. In extreme cases, I buried the shame so deep inside of me that it became a festering wound, causing me to live injured year after year. 

What was God's response to their shame? He covered them properly and "made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." (Gen. 3:21) 
To cover the first sin and the first shame, God saw that Adam's feeble attempt to cover himself would be entirely inadequate. So He shed blood and covered Adam and his wife with the skin of an animal.  And to cover our shame - we, being no less naked from a spiritual perspective - we were covered by God through the shed blood of His Son.         

Christ bore our shame, and the Bible says that He despised it.  Hebrews 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (emphasis mine)   And in that act, God was able to cover us.  Isaiah 61:10 "For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness"  It's an awesome parallel. We are covered in garments by God. 

And as far as our shame, as disciples this side of the cross? Psalm 25:3 "No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame"  It's restated in Romans 10:11  
Conviction? Yes.  Humility and Repentance? Yes. Shame? Never.

Thank you, God, that we do not have to scramble about trying to cover ourselves for the shame of things done to us or decisions that we have made. Receive the covering that God has given you through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. 

We do not have to carry shame. And that is so liberating.
Has Satan ever tried to trap you in the lie of shame? What have been some of the results of shame in your life?


Annie said...

Thanks Em. This made sense to me. A lot. I pushed my shame away big time. I didn't even recognize it was there. While you were away, I started to realize that it was there, following me around each day. Your connection here with the scripture made sense.

I will thank you because I am marvelously made; your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
—Psalms 139:14

emily said...

Recognizing shame in my life and its crazy life-controlling effects was the first step for me, too. Don't underestimate the power of flushing denial. Paul says that we are not unaware of the devil's schemes. (ref 2 Corinthians 2:11) - this relating to the power of unforgiveness, but I believe relates to many areas of our lives.

It's so cool that we get to know the end game. Life is an open-book test. (The Quest Helper is right there on the map with the exact location of the baddies!)

so.. you know.. "The more you know" (insert NBC gongs... ding, ding, dong)