Does Jesus Really Take Away All My Shame?

suffering and griefI’m about to get real…and honest. If you’re looking for a nicely packaged, sweet-smelling pretty Christianity, you won’t find it in this post. I’ve actually been wanting to write this post for awhile but couldn’t quite put a solid structure on it. But thanks to a couple of articles that have come across my radar awhile back and an article and unfortunate discussion thread I saw today, I was reminded of this post that sat as a draft for a couple of months. So I thought it was time to address something that I experience on a regular basis and know that pollyanna puffy cloud or otherwise trite formulas don’t quite cover it.

I came across this article a couple of months ago from the Resurgence blog, Jesus Over Shame. Jen Smidt writes of her battle with shame that she finally stuck a flag in the ground and marked that territory with Jesus.

If you are carrying the weight of shame, Jesus is calling you to give that burden to him and rest in the new identity he has given you. Because of shame, you may feel unqualified to speak truth into areas where you have influence. Whether you’re a Bible teacher, a neighbor, an employee, or a stay-at-home mom, you lead others. Don’t allow shame to silence you, but instead live in the freedom of Jesus’ grace, which eradicates shame. Don’t use shame to motivate yourself or those you lead. Point people to Jesus, who conquered shame.

Christian, from this day forward, choose Jesus over shame, every time.

That’s sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? After all, Scripture tells us that “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). And we must take serious that our sin debt has been paid by the one time sacrifice on the cross (Heb. 10:13). And my personal favorite, “he has cancelled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands” (Col 2:15). In Christ, we are certainly new creations (2 Cor. 5:21). Continue reading

Shaming to the Glory of God

A few years ago, I wrote this piece here on Parchment and Pen about how we use condemning statements under the rubric of Christian affection.

I was listening to a Christian broadcast the other morning on the way into school and the topic of the sermon was Christians and alcohol.  The preacher took a rather hard stand against alcohol and insisted that the Bible expressly forbids the use of alcohol.  While I don’t agree with him, I was intent be gracious to his points as to why.  That was until he made the statement at the end of his broadcast that he did not want to condemn any Christian who drinks alcohol BUT (yes you knew there was a but coming, right?) you Christian, should really ask yourself does your use of alcohol really glorify God.  If you love God and offer yourself to Him….skreeeeech! My first thought was ‘how is that not condemning’?  That person who may have a glass of wine or beer on occasion, and has a conviction regarding this liberty, has now had their Christian devotion challenged.

wagging_finger_cartoonI find this all too common – shaming to the glory of God. Well, of course it’s not to God’s glory. In fact, I’d take a gander and say it is to our own to show we have the upper moral ground. Shaming happens when you highlight deficiencies and then show the other person how they are not measuring up. It happens on issues of Christian liberty and demonstrating the superiority of doctrinal positions, as I highlighted in the article. Shamed based preaching usually involves some condemning statements to motivate people into doing something because the preacher feels they aren’t doing enough.

Most Christians don’t [insert statement about how people aren’t measuring up]

Then follow it up

If you really loved the Lord, you would….

Is that love? Dr. Anthony Bradley said it well.

Love does not shame people into compliance or service. Love does not pull out the measuring stick then smack them over the head with it. Love let’s people know that they can’t measure up and points to the One who has. Love encourages that we rest in the completed sacrifice of Christ. Love encourages not condemns.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

Oh and the good deed? That would be loving neighbor, not productions to satisfy our sense of what we feel somebody ought to be doing for God.

The Shame of Shame: Wielding the Sword of Defense

shame_facepalmShame. What comes to your mind when mentioning that word? It’s a word that needs no definition for all of us have experienced it in varying degrees. Inadequacies, deficiencies, past and present failures…all bring that curtain of shame down on us. The problem, I think, is that when it strikes, instead of identifying it appropriate to what it is, we ride the wave of where it takes us.

I’ve been learning a lot about this dreaded animal over the past year or so. Not so much that it exists but the insidious behavior it encourages and has encouraged in my own life over many years. On one hand, there are those that accept it and go along with whatever behavior says it deserves. If you’re inadequate you might as well live like it.

Well, the problem with that for Christians is obvious. We are called to be holy and live according to our position in Christ (1 Peter 1:15-16; Ephesians 4:1). Although, living out shame can explain a lot concerning the presence and pull of sinful, addictive behavior. But any amount of time reading the bible, in prayer or fellowship with brothers and sisters will propel the need to live right and be a “good Christian”.

I personally believe that in our humanity, we are hard wired to earn our righteousness through moralism. It’s why the common response to acceptability to God is “I’m a good person”. The good is a reflection of the perfection that God requires. So good should be good enough. On the contrary, behavior that misses the mark is seen as not deserving any connection to or pardon from God . All this points to one thing: we want perfection. Because in perfection is beauty, goodness and acceptability. Continue reading