I think we’ve all been there — we’ve tucked ourselves into bed, the light is off, we might be drifting off to sleep… WHAM. Out of nowhere, we suddenly vividly recall some memory of the highest embarrassment, and lying in the dark, reliving our shame.
Everyone has lived through embarrassing moments. Both that were embarrassing in the moment, and some that only seem to be embarrassing upon recollection. But at a deeper level, there are moments that looking back on might stir something deeper than that, that move past any blushing into a terrible, squirmy feeling of shame.
Worse even than embarrassment, these are the moments that really make us uncomfortable. Beyond slipping on a banana peel, these are moments that aren’t so easy to laugh at. Situations where we have perhaps acted terribly, we’ve hurt people, we acted foolishly, without knowledge that was later gained. Places in our life that no matter how biased we are to seeing ourselves in a good light we know that in these places — we messed up.
Or it could be something that you’re doing even now, a bad habit you know you need to break.
Right now, you probably have something in mind.
Because we do all have them.
The trouble is, because of the fall, we have a tendency towards sinfulness, towards hurting others, that can be called concupiscence. That means we often end up in moments like that more often than we would like, with a feeling of shame that can seem like the end.
We end up stuck in a roundabout of shame, with nothing to point us out of it.
This can feel even worse when it revolves around situations that cannot be resolved.
Perhaps it involves a tangle of relationships with people you no longer know, or aren’t on speaking terms with.
Perhaps you tried to have a conversation, but forgiveness wasn’t extended to you.
That can hurt.
When we get stuck in that cycle of shame, we can feel like there is no way to break out. That we are looking for forgiveness that will never be had, and that we will forever be defined by the wrong that we’ve done.
Friend, that is a lie.
When it is said that Jesus came to free you from sin, we are not talking in abstract concepts here. He died and conquered death to conquer your sin.
Sin is often described as a chain, weighing us down, but the feeling of shame is one that could be better described as sticky. And when that shame threatens to cling to us in all its sticky tentacles, it might feel like it can never be escaped.
But in embracing the cross we come to new life in Christ, and in that new life, the old is burnt away.
We might have genuine cause for shame — whether that be something that happened today, yesterday, or a decade ago.
But in rising to new life, our old self is left behind.
Every moment that we resolve ourselves to virtue, to abandon the ways of the past and walk boldly forward in new life, our shame is put to death.
So, friend, if there is a sticky shame weighing you down — let God lift it from you.
Where you are tangled up in the past, let it go.
Speak forgiveness, charity, generosity where you are able, and where you are not, let Christ fill that gap.
Above all, let shame die on the shoulders of the one who bears it for you.
Victoria is a life long lover of words, and a big believer in the life changing power of the Living Word. She shares her unfiltered thoughts at houseofsparrows.com.au
Mother to a small tribe, Victoria is currently reading good books, sewing a new wardrobe, making banana muffins, and making sure everybody gets their nap time.