Hope for the Ashamed
Good News Publishers
Shame is a terrible burden. It crushes the spirit. It isolates and makes us fearful. It kills relationships and causes us to hide even from those who love us. It can be a deep sickness within the heart, keeping us paralyzed with despair and unable to ask for or receive help.
Are you struggling with shame today? Many people are. Some wrestle with shame over things they’ve done or become. Theirs is the shame of a guilty conscience. Others suffer from shame over something that was done to them. Theirs is the shame of a wounded spirit. While these two kinds of shame have very different causes, they both cause us to hide in fear: to hide from ourselves, from others, and from God.
Perhaps this is a shame over
-A secret, destructive habit we can’t seem to break.
-Choices we’ve made in the past that would grieve those we love if they knew
-An evil act of abuse that left us feeling ugly, dirty, or unlovable.
-Feeling like we’ll never measure up
If you’re struggling with shame today, the Bible has good news for you. But first, it also has some bad news.
The bad news is that your shame is telling you something, and what it’s telling you is partly true. If your shame comes from something you’ve done or said or been that you know was wrong, then your shame is telling you that you’re a sinner. That’s true. The shame you feel is like smoke, which signals a fire nearby.
The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). God made us. We are his creatures. God is perfectly good and just and lovely, and we owe him perfect love and obedience in every thought, word, and action. But every single person who has ever lived (except for one) has sinned against God (Romans 3:10). Sin ruptures our relationship with God, and therefore severely damages everything from our conscience to our relationships to the world itself.
Shame over the things we’ve done and become that we know are wrong is telling us that we are not who we are supposed to be. And shame over the things that people have done to us is telling us that the world is not the way it is supposed to be. One writer in the Bible puts it like this: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)
That’s the bad news. But there’s good news!
The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he came to earth over 2,000 years ago to do something about our sin. Jesus lived a totally perfect life before God the Father—the life all of us ought to live. Then Jesus died on a cross, taking on the punishment for sin—the death we all deserve to die. Three days after he died, Jesus did the unimaginable—he rose from the dead! The Bible says that Jesus lives today, forever, and he will never die—the fate we could never achieve for ourselves.
The Bible says that by doing all this Jesus has brought those who put their trust in him back to God. Those who believe in Christ and turn to him as their only hope are cleaned forever from the guilt and shame of sin. We can be healed because Jesus was broken (1 Peter 2:24). In Jesus God can declare us forgiven and free. We don’t have to hide anymore, because Jesus bore our shame when he died, and then put it away forever when he rose again. All of this is a promise God makes to any who will turn from their sin and put their hope and trust in Jesus.
If you want to give Jesus your shame and your guilt, and receive from him perfect life and forgiveness forever, call out to him right now with a prayer like this:
Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son, and that he died on the cross to save me from my sin. I believe that he rose again to life, and that he invites me to live forever with him in heaven as part of your family. Because of what Jesus has done, I ask you to forgive me of my sin and give me eternal life. Please guide me to a Bible-believing church where I can grow as a Christian with others who love Jesus. Amen.