Shaming seems to be an American past time. A hobby if you will. We see it everywhere. Some of it is real and some of it is imagined. All if it is damaging to our souls.
A few years ago, I was heading north with a car load of teens. We were cruising along with the radio playing, the only car on the road. I crested a hill to find a police officer waiting for me. A
quick glance at my speedometer to see that yes I was driving way too fast. The police cruiser immediately turned his lights on and pulled me over. After serving the ticket, he informed me I
could erase the points by going to traffic school. Fine, I’ll do it. As the week went on I could not forgive myself. I repeated the following words,
“ You should have known better.”
“ Who do you think you are trying to get away with such a thing?”
“ What will people think of you when they find out?”
“ Traffic school. I can’t go to traffic school. They will know I’m a speeder!”
Of course it didn’t dawn on me that they were all speeders too. But that was beside the point. I was worried about what others thought. I was accusing myself of being less than others. I was
beating myself up beyond what was necessary. I was ashamed of myself.
I used a relatively light hearted example to show how easily we move into shame. Many are dealing with bigger issues but God does not expect anyone to live in shame. He does not look to
make bad people good, His goal is to make dead people alive.
Please understand that conviction or guilt is a good thing. We are to respond to the Holy Spirit when He pricks out conscious when we mess up. 1 John 1:9 informs us “if we confess our sins to
Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT) When we are convicted we repent and we move on. We are to learn from our past failures but
we do not need to ruminate over on them.
Conviction rests on an action. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit which brings life but shame comes only from evil. Shame rests on who we are. Shame’s purpose is to lead us from pursuing
God to focusing on ourselves. Shame will lead to death of that area of our soul. Jesus came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10) With Jesus, there is no room for shame. It has to leave.
Hebrews 12:12 tells us that Jesus endured shame on the cross. He took our shame and through Him gave us the right to be called child of God. (John 1:12). With this promise we remember our
identity is wrapped up in what was done for us not what we do. He promises we can do nothing to lose this title. He will never reject us unless we choose to reject Him.