For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame. – Romans 10:11
A while back, a detail of my former life (before Christ) made an unwelcome reappearance. I won’t go into details. It’s an ugly part of my past, which unfortunately was self-induced through a series of lies and bad choices. It is something that I confessed and surrendered at the feet of Jesus years ago. Something I didn’t expect to rear its ugly head ever again.
But it did. With its appearance also came a familiar pain. It’s a pain that has, many times, caused me to question and doubt my identity and value in Him.
Shame is ruthless and unrelenting.
It causes us to re-examine the promises that breathe the truth of who we are and what He has done for us. It tells us that our stains could never possibly be removed. That forgiveness is not within our reach. That we are destined to live forever soiled with guilt and humiliation. The purpose and meaning of our lives have become rotten and spoiled.
Shame causes us to doubt. It causes faith to hesitate. It causes confidence to stumble. Trust to swerve and hope to falter.
I’ve dealt with this snake of shame before. I recognize its whispers. I’m familiar with its accusations.
However, this time I had a hard time shaking its voice out of my head. The murmurs lingered.
As I was talking to the Lord about it one day, the direction of my thinking took a refreshing detour – an arrow of grace leading me to the story of Rahab.
I began to wonder how she felt.
How did she feel after the walls of Jericho had fallen and she had been invited to join the Israelites in their camp?
I can imagine her joy. But I also wonder how much of that joy was veiled by the looming shadow of her shameful past.
What were the fears that afflicted her as she walked into the Israelite camp?
Will I be accepted by them? Would they ever think of me as one of their own, or will I be destined forever to carry the stamp of ‘harlot’? Will I ever really be worthy to be counted among one of God’s chosen people?
Shame is directly related to sin. We feel shame when we focus on the ways we have missed the mark. When we feel like we don’t measure up or have failed.
Christ died to set us free from our sin. Sin no longer has mastery over us.
knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin – Romans 6:6 NASB
When I think of Rahab, I don’t think of a prostitute. I think of a prostitute that God transformed into a woman counted worthy to not only be counted among His people, but also worthy to be grafted into the lineage of our Savior!
Shame was a part of Rahab’s story. But, without it, we don’t see the depth of her redemption. Without the pain, we don’t see the magnitude of His grace and glory.
Likewise, there are parts of my past, and maybe your past, that were painful. However, because of grace, these are no longer instruments to be used to magnify our shame, but rather to magnify the transforming power and sufficiency of His forgiveness.
A Prayer to Live Free From Shame
Lord, thank you for the work that you accomplished on the cross. I know that I am not perfect. I make mistakes, daily. Some of these mistakes have the potential to haunt my mind. The feelings of guilt can be so strong at times. But Lord, in these moments help me to remember the price you paid to offer me forgiveness. You died that I may live free from shame. Please work all the circumstances of my life for your good and glory.
In Jesus name, Amen
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