Hebrews 12:2 – Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
A simple definition of shame is – a painful feeling of having lost respect of others and of oneself because of improper behavior, failure not to meet the expectation of another, and not living up to your own expectation of yourself.
Many Bible figures had to overcome shame. Abram felt shame not having a child for whom he could leave an inheritance. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many.” God not only gave him a child, He multiplied his seed so His posterity was like the sand of the sea. Jacob was shamed because he deceived his father into thinking that he was Esau, his older brother, from whom he stole the birthright. Later, God changed Jacob’s name, which meant “deceiver” to Israel, meaning “Prince with God.” Joseph was shamed by his brothers who sold him into slavery. In Egypt, God raised him up to serve Pharaoh and save the nation in a time of famine. Some others I could write about would be Moses – shamed from Egypt and shame that he was inarticulate. Saul felt shame because of his persecution of the church and Timothy because of his age. Then there is Peter, who denied his Lord three times.
People do shameful things because they live from a shame base in their life experience. They are acting out what they believe about themselves. Many see themselves as a failure, evil, rejected, ugly, unworthy of love, and a host of other things.
Jesus broke the shame barrier once and for all in life and death. He gave us power in our life to rule over shame. He has empowered us to receive His forgiveness and acceptance. He wants to equip us so we too might help others break off shame from their lives. The Lord’s call for each of His children is to break shame’s power and be free to serve in humility.
One of the strongest proponents of shame is religion. Religion can put the expectations of others upon an individual. In Christianity, one can come to church feeling shameful. When they hear and receive the gospel they experience the freedom Christ has for them. Shame lifts, but as they hang around the church, shame begins to creep back in as others put their expectations on the new believer. We should never shame someone into being a follower of Jesus. God certainly doesn’t.
Father, I thank You for taking my shame upon Yourself. I thank You for the covering You have given to me in the Lord Jesus Christ who causes me to know I am loved and cared for by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help me to communicate that love to others as well.