Hi how are you all today? Today was my first day in the city for work? I was a bit nervous but all good. Most were masked up on public transport. A few times I left my desk and forgot to put my mask on. Oops!!! Everybody at work got right back into their jobs, which was good.
Today I want to talk about shame and our great need to be released from it. Shame holds us prisoner in our past and blinds us so we can’t see good and nor can we see our future. Shame reminds us that everyone will know what we did and don’t talk to others, or severe judgement will come. Have you ever felt like this or been in that situation?
What does shame actually mean? In the Oxford Dictionary, it means : a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. It also has another meaning but this one is the one that is relevant for this story.
Shame always comes from wrong or foolish behaviour. But there is a remedy when you know Jesus and that is repentance. Jesus does not want shame hanging over our lives and pulling us down.
I want to read a story of where shame turned to extravagance. It is the story of Mary Magdalene. We first meet her in John 8 verse 2. This section of scripture is titled “Women who followed Jesus”. What this verse says about her is that she was the one whom seven demons had been cast out of. We don’t know her story and the Bible doesn’t specifically mention her miracle. But it was only Jesus Who could have cast them out of her. Let’s imagine what her life may have been like before the miracle?
Depending on how those demons affected her, Mary could have been violent and an angry person. Being demon possessed would not have been a nice situation for her or those around her. She would have felt shunned and lonely and may even have been an outcast. But Jesus came by and turned her life around. Although she was free shame still followed her. She was known as Mary Magdalene from whom He had cast out seven demons. Her identity was wrapped up in her past.
So what changed for her? Her willingness to follow Jesus wherever He went. This Mary was at the cross weeping with the other women in John 19:25. But her claim to fame was at the tomb where her restoration became complete.
In John 20 verse 1, while it was still dark, she went to the tomb. She probably couldn’t sleep after the events that had happened. Nobody was allowed at the tomb in the days before as it was the Passover and the Sabbath. So she wanted to go, the first chance she had and this was it. She made her way to the tomb by lamplight. But when she arrived, she got a fright. The stone was rolled away. How could that happen? She needed to muster a search party. She ran and found Peter and John who then ran to the tomb, looked in and left. Some search party!
Mary lingered- her heart was broken. The one that freed her was dead and His body gone. She was even more grief stricken than she was before. She looked back in the tomb and angels were sitting there who told her Jesus had risen. What a concept to get your head around?
She turned and in that moment Jesus was there. Extravagant means exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate. Jesus was meant to go to heaven to put His blood on the mercy seat for all mankind. But a woman who was filled with shame stopped Him. Jesus was extravagant with her. He stopped to minister to her. She was important to Him.
Dear one reading this, Jesus wants to do the same for you. He wants to turn your shame into extravagance so that you will know that you are worth it. Worth what – worth dying for, worth loving, worth being an example too, worth saving and much more.
So this week take your shame to Jesus and let Hum pour out His extravagance. He dearly and longingly wants to do so.
Have a great week and keep living the life God intended for you.