Hi how are you all? I am well and looking forward to what this new year holds. It hasn’t started out the best as we are in a type of mini lockdown in relation to work. But as the saying goes – good things come to those who wait. So I have my hope set that this year will be a good year as I walk closer to God.
In this year of release, I want to talk about shame. Many of us live with this burden hanging on us. But in this year of release it is time that it be lifted off and discarded forever. The definition of shame in the Oxford Dictionary is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour or a regrettable or unfortunate situation or action.
In the first definition of shame, we need to forgive ourselves. This can be hard as there is something inside us that tells us we need to do some sort of penance. But that thought and feeling is coming from Satan. Jesus came to give us life not defeat.
In the second situation often we have to forgive others. Forgiveness does not mean friendship or relationship. It means setting yourself free from carrying another persons wrongdoing (my definition). We can only do this most times in the grace of Jesus.
Let’s have a look at a well known story in the Bible. It is the woman caught in adultery. Let’s tell her story. For this story, her name is Olive. Olive was a married woman but her husband was away a lot and she felt lonely. Her children had all grown up and left her. One day in the market her neighbour invited her over for dinner. He said his wife was away and could he come to her place instead. She had known this man for years so she agreed. Her husband wasn’t coming back anytime soon. The man stayed the night and left just before dawn. This went on for a few days. She knew it was wrong but loneliness caused her to justify it.
Early one morning just after the man had left, an angry mob came to her house. She was barely covered when they dragged her to the synagogue. She was scared- she knew the law and now she was going to have to pay the price. But where was the man? Had he set her up?
The men threw her in front of another man. But when she looked up, it wasn’t the priest but Jesus Whom she had heard about. Some said He was kind and others said He was weird. What would He do to her and where was the priest?
The men started laying their accusations about her before Jesus. But Jesus didn’t answer. He knelt down next to her and started writing on the ground. She tried to see but she couldn’t. He then stood up and said whoever was without sin could cast the first stone . Then He knelt down again.
Olive was so scared so she closed her eyes expecting to feel the sting of the stones being thrown at her. But she didn’t feel anything – only heard silence.
After a while Jesus spoke and asked her where the men were. Stunned, Olive got up and looked around. They had disappeared. Jesus then told her to go and sin no more.
Olive felt free as she left the synagogue. All her shame and fear had lifted off her. She felt like singing and dancing. She knew her life had changed in that instant.
Have you got shame hanging over you from things you are currently doing that are wrong in Gods eyes or that you have previously done? God does not want you living that way anymore. He has come to set you free.
How you were conceived, how you grew up, those things in your younger years are not the things that define you now. Jesus has come to give you a new identity that is in no way tied to your past. I needed this message myself a few years ago and still need to remind myself that God created me and Jesus died for me to be free and to be loved.
If you are feeling shame, come to Jesus and allow Him to set you free. You will be glad you did. Have a great week and keep living the life God intended for you.