Shame

Why is God’s grace so tough for us to understand?  Some of us know that we need Jesus, but we just don’t quite grasp how that works and the danger is that if you try to get Jesus or you try to understand why he died on the cross without an understanding of grace, what you’ll experience in your life is shame.

Blues

Do you walk around with shame? I’ve been there.  There’s a band that my wife and I enjoy called the Avett Brothers and one of my favorite songs by these guys is simply called “Shame” and the chorus goes like this – read it and ask yourself if this is what is going on inside of you:

“Shame. Boatloads of shame.
Day after day. More of the same.

Blame, please lift it off.
Please take it off, please make it stop.”

For many people in the world, that’s a lifesong.  And maybe you get Jesus and maybe you’ve surrendered your life to him and maybe you understand that he died on the cross for your sins but you really can’t get your head around grace… And so you’re filled with shame.

Shame because you still sin. Shame because you feel like every time you do, you’re jeopardizing your relationship with God…. Shame because when you sin, you feel like your Christian friends or your spouse or your pastor or someone in that place called church is going to see right through you and call you out for the fake that you keep telling yourself that you are.

Boatloads of shame.

And if you’re there. If you’re there – these words from this song just ring true in your life and something inside is just crying out: “Please take it off, please make it stop.”

And maybe what you’ve been taught is that the reason you keep falling, the reason you keep screwing up is that you just don’t have enough faith. See if you just really believed in Jesus you wouldn’t do those things because if you’re sinning, then you must not fully believe. Have you heard this? So just believe, right? Now – for the most part, that’s true. But it’s not really that helpful.

Beseeching you to believe might appeal to your emotions, but it really doesn’t get into your heart and so what happens is you can have an emotional response to a conversation or a sermon or even a prayer and want to change. But if all it is is an emotional response, it’s going to wear off. And so a week or a month or a year later you’re back in that same place dealing with the same junk and you can’t break free from it and so you’re filled with shame and inside you’re screaming, “please take it off; please make it stop.”

So what’s the answer?  Romans 3:23 tells us that we’re all sinners – you, me, every person that goes to church, every pastor, every spouse, everyone – and we all fall short of the glory of God.  If you’re filled with shame, you know that.  You feel that.  You live that.  But what you also need to know, feel, and live is that for those that have surrendered their life to Jesus, the very next verse provides the key.  See, as Christians, though we are sinners, we are justified by God’s grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God AND, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:23-24, ESV)

You want to know where the real power of the gospel is to set you free? It’s grace. Unmerited favor. None of us deserve what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.  As Christians, we are sinners saved by grace.  Justified (put right) with God by his gift of grace through Jesus.  And when you get that – when you get that you’re a sinner and that the only way to be right before a holy God is to be PUT RIGHT before God by grace, it changes everything.  When you realize that it’s not about what you do that makes you right (going to church, reading your Bible, praying every day, helping people out) but what God did (sent Jesus to die on the Cross for your sins) – it sets you free from your shame because you come to realize that even though you are a sinner, even though you still screw up, even though you’re not perfect – Christ died on the cross for your sins.

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~ by toddbumgarner on June 4, 2009 6:06 am.

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