Shame. The feeling that we are somehow less than others. That no matter how hard we try, we will never be enough. That we don’t just occasionally “do” wrong things…we were born a wrong thing. When we feel shame we feel hopeless – because there’s no antidote for shame. Sin and error can be forgiven. Shame shouts that it would be better if we ceased to exist.
The enemy is constantly speaking shame into our lives. God is constantly speaking His love to us as His beloved children. We hear Jesus calling us His friends. We hear the enemy, like Gollum in “Lord of the Rings” telling us “You don’t have any friends. No one likes you. Murderrerrrr…”
And sometimes the voice of shame is way, way louder than the voice of Love.
For me, when the enemy is shouting shame, it is usually attached to some way that I screwed up, whether past or present. He reminds me of my failure. He points out my character flaws, the way I have hurt people that I love, the way I look, the way I speak, the way…I am.
I’m sort of living there right now. For a lot of different reasons, I’m living there just for a moment. But I must not stay there – because shame is an insidious killer – destroying our joy, our freedom and even our ability to love. After all, we can’t love another while hating ourselves. And if shame destroys our ability to love…it also destroys our ability to really live.
The way out? “They looked to Him and were radiant…and their faces were not ashamed.” [Ps 34:5] I’ve got to see Him. In my mind’s eye, in my heart – I’ve got to see His face. Because I know that I know that I know that He loves me so when I see Him I know I will see His love, grace, mercy and acceptance toward me. And when I see His very heart for me reflected in His face, I will absolutely not be ashamed.
Gracious God, help me to have the courage to get my eyes off my baggage…real or imagined…and look up at You. Help me to see you in Jesus. Help me to see you in some safe person you send my way. Holy One, I don’t really care how you help me to see you – but when I look up – somehow, someway show me Your face. Let me see and feel how much You love and accept me. And let your love and acceptance, reflected in your face, deliver me from shame.