Shame

Man Crouching With Hands Over Face

Shame can do one of two things in our lives:

  • Bring us to deny it as we try to get away from the shame that will eventually destroy us

or

  • Bring us to a growing regret and grief that will destroy us (sometimes sooner or more visibly)

Different people have a propensity toward one or the other.

For Pilate, it was denial: I’m not responsible.

For Judas, it was growing regret and grief: I’m not forgivable. 

For both, their response to shame destroyed them (Pilate’s conscience[1] and Judas’ life).

Jesus introduced a new way to deal with shame.  One of His most devoted followers showed just what this new way would look like.

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, HCSB)

The apostle who wrote this was one of the worst traitors in history.  After pledging to give his total allegiance to His closest friend, he lied about Him three times.

He lied because he didn’t want to die with Him–even though he’d been so sure just hours before that he could do just that.

He lied in front of a crowd, and he even lied in eye shot of the friend who had washed his feet and given him bread to eat just hours earlier.

Peter was a total coward.

He ran away in shame when he began to realize how horrific he had actually been.

And the friend he had denied was the Son of God.

If this man had betrayed you, you wouldn’t pick him to write on behalf of you, through your inspiration, but that is exactly God did.  God showed the exact purpose of shame we experience in this life through Peter’s letter:

. . not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, HCSB)

Shame has purpose through Jesus Christ.  The purpose is to repent.

What is repentance?  Really, it’s giving your sorrows to God in exchange for His honor.

Like trading a dishonorable discharge for a purple heart.

Like exchanging a hangman’s noose for a royal crown.

Like trading the last-place loser’s shoes for the winner’s laurels.

Shame is the realization that we carry the hammer and nails for our own cross.

In Christ, repentance is the realization that we can give our hammer and nails to the One who already bore them.  In Him, we can walk out of our tomb with the stone rolled wide away.

Peter could especially write about God’s love for the shamed because Peter had lived God’s love for the shamed.  When he penned his words, he was writing them not just for others, but also for himself.

Peter, through God’s inspiration, gives us the realization that the clock is ticking.

God is holding back right now in patience.

He is giving us time to process our shame.

The question is, what will we do?  Will we deny our shame, spend our lives growing in regret and grief . . or will we repent, as God Himself is wanting?

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, HCSB)

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Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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