Shame is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. From my experience (personally and pastorally) I have found that when shame matures, it goes beyond being a feeling of humiliation that passes, as most feelings do. It becomes a force that seeks to shape our identity. That force makes us begin to be humiliated by who we are because of a wrong or foolish behavoior of ours.
God’s response to shame is the gospel. The good news of God’s unmerited favour!
Paul was writing in Romans 1:16 to the christians in Rome who had heard of all the humiliating things that he had been through since he answered the call to preach the gospel. He said to them: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
In other words he was saying, I know that based on what you know of my experience for the the sake of the gospel, you have reason to think that I will be ashamed of preaching it, but I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ! If you knew the story of what he had been through for the sake of the gospel you will agree that that was an amazing statement.
When a person has an experience of the true gospel that they hear, it strips you of shame and guilt!
Shame says you’re a pervert because of what you did with your body last night! The gospel says your body is special, the temple of the Holy Ghost, that’s why you shouldn’t have done that!
Shame called you an adulterous woman who deserves to be stoned…the gospel says you are not condemned, go and sin no more!
Shame calls you a failure and says you should stay down because you fell, the gospel calls you the righteous who falls seven times and gets up every time!
Shame says people like you shouldn’t be talking when these educated folks are speaking because you don’t qualify. The gospel says before I formed you I knew you and appointed you a prophet to the nations! The gospel says I’ve given you something to say! The gospel says that God justifies the ungodly!
Shame says you denied Jesus 3 times Peter go back to fishing because you are hereby disqualified from thinking you can change the World…the gospel says go tell my disciples and Peter that I have risen! The gospel pulls you back into the fold in spite of your betrayal!
Shame says the mistake of your youth will determine your future and confine you to bearing the identity of what you did…But the gospel says in Isaiah 54:4
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.
I pray that this will be the season where you open your hear to hear the gospel. I pray that this will be the season when you set your expectation to have a personal experience of the gospel, the good news of God’s unmerited favour! I pray that inspite of how loud shame seems to be shouting, tugging or pulling, when you hear God’s Word, you will not harden your heart!