Sometimes, usually suddenly, there’s this movie that plays in my head. There are clips of everything I’ve ever done wrong, everything I still fall short in, and every way I predict I’ll mess up in the future. I like to think that all of our feelings have their own dialogue. When we feel grateful, we are telling God that we appreciate the ways that He’s blessed us. When we feel worried, we are asking God for direction. This begs the question that might just change the script: What are we telling God when we allow ourselves to live in shame?
Hebrews 4:15 says that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are…” Jesus is recorded weeping three times in scripture. Although Jesus never committed sin, he definitely experienced sin and felt its weight. He knows what it’s like to feel weak. But when we allow ourselves to live in shame, we are saying:
“Although you empathize with my weaknesses, you could not possibly understand what I’m going through.”
When Jesus died for us, that was a big deal. Imagine this: You are the creator of the universe and you can do anything. Willingly, you are born as a helpless baby into unprivileged circumstances. After living your life perfectly, serving those around you, you are killed unjustly. You bear every sin of the past, present, and future, as you descend into hell. Then, because you and only you can defeat death, you leave all of that sin in the depths and ascend victoriously. You are even sure to defeat the sins of those who killed you and those who will dedicate their entire lives to cursing your name. You then, some two thousand years later, come across a beloved one who is crumbling underneath the weight of their sin. They look up at you, tears in their eyes, and say this:
“What you have done is just not enough.”
This is the message we send to our Father in heaven. There’s still more to this dialogue. God isn’t the only one listening. He isn’t the only one completely invested in your life. We also have an Enemy, who pays very close attention to his victims. When we allow ourselves to live in shame, we tell the Enemy:
“My worth is measured by your standards.”
“All you know how to do is steal, kill, and destroy. But, I trust you anyways.”
It’s a script that’s difficult to wrap your head around. But, this script is the cold reality of shame. All too often, this is the script I follow. Friend, I invite you to reflect with me in this moment. What is true about our God? What is true about our shame? Which narrative is worth following? With prayer, write a note to yourself on your phone or a piece of paper of what is true. Refer to this note in times that it’s challenging to separate lies from reality. Here’s mine:
Right now, you may be experiencing thoughts from the Enemy. And they may feel true. But, they only feel true because the Enemy watches you closely and has mastered the exploitation of the most vulnerable parts of your heart. Anything that isn’t from God is from the Enemy. The Enemy isn’t capable of anything but lying and twisting. If you feel the lie that you are a disgrace, that must mean that you are truly clean and redeemed. You are not defined by your sin in any capacity. Jesus did not die for you to live in shame. Nothing can separate you from God’s grace.
Let God write your dialogue, so that the other guy doesn’t get to.
From Him to me to you,