Throughout this blog I’ve been slowly sharing parts of my story. One of the good things about telling my own story is that I’m able to share the parts of my story I want you to know. I can shine up my story really nice so it sounds awesome, but what about the parts of my story that won’t ever shine up? What about the parts that are so dark and ugly I wish they could be removed completely? What happens when there’s shame in your story?
The other day I was thinking about many different Bible stories and characters I’ve heard about through the years. I thought to myself, “How embarrassing to have some of your biggest, most shameful moments written down and passed along, all through history!!” Sure the stories are about more than just the things they’ve done wrong, more than just the things they’re ashamed of, but it’s still embarrassing sometimes when everyone knows your story.
I thought about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One of Eve’s most shameful moments changed all of mankind. Her decision to disobey God was written down for all to see, and also brought sin into what WAS a perfect world. This lead to one of her sons murdering the other. This lead to all of the pain and suffering that has ever been, and ever will be. This lead to all of the sin and shame that has EVER taken place on this earth and it was her fault, how embarrassing.
I thought about David. David lusted after Bathsheba. It might not have been as bad that he just lusted after her, but she was married to Uriah. He lusted after another man’s wife. Not only did David lust after another man’s wife, but then he slept with her. Not only did he sleep with her, he got her pregnant. Not only did he get her pregnant, he had her husband called home from battle to sleep with her as well, in an effort to cover up the affair. He thought that maybe if they could make it seem as though Uriah was the one who was intimate with Bathsheba and conceived the child with her, it might not be so bad. When Uriah was called back from battle he stood guard over the kingdom, rather than taking the opportunity to be intimate with his wife. Knowing that Uriah didn’t sleep with her, David had Uriah killed. David lusted after a married woman, slept with her, got her pregnant, and then murdered her husband…it’s all written down in history. It’s written in the Bible you and I read. Everyone knows about his most shameful moments…how embarrassing.
I thought of the Samaritan woman at the well. She was an outcast of her day. She had been married 5 times, and the man she was currently living with, she wasn’t even married to. She was promiscuous and everyone knew it. People avoided her. Her story was riddled with shame and Jesus spoke to her, He spoke her sin out loud. Not only was her sin spoken out loud, but it was written down, in the Bible. Not only was it written down in the bible, IT WAS WRITTEN IN RED! Everyone knew her story then, and it’s in history now…how embarrassing!
I think of the woman in the Bible who was caught in the act of adultery. She was about to be stoned to death because of her sin. People knew the shameful part of her story then, and it’s written down in the bible. People still speak of her now and tell her story…how embarrassing.
I found myself thinking of Peter? Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples, one of His dearest friends, and he was so ashamed of Jesus he denied Him 3 times! People knew of the shame in his story then, and they know of it now. It’s written down in the Bible! People spoke of it then, and they speak of it now…how embarrassing!
Here’s the thing though, that’s not all there is to the story. If you only knew of the shameful parts of their story it would be easy to judge them, and make assumptions of who they are. If you only knew them by the shame in their stories you’d never fully know them, and you’d never fully see the love and the grace of the Lord.
David was an adulterer, fathered a child out of wedlock, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he was also a murder. Yet did you know that he was said to be the man after Gods own heart? David wrote the Psalms, which are some of the most beautiful things ever written. Yes the shame in his story is written down, but so is the redemption.
The woman at the well was promiscuous, had many husbands and was outcast by the people of her day. When she came to know Jesus, His redemption changed her life, and His redemption came to be a part of the story that was told to the people all around her. If the only story they knew of her was of her most shameful moments, and not of the redeeming love of Christ, people would have been unchanged.
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42 NKJV)
The woman who was caught in the act of adultery was about to lose her life for it. When Jesus stood in front of her, her life was not only spared, she was changed. Her story, because of Jesus’ action, changed the lives of others as well.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:7, 9-12 NKJV)
There are so many times the shame in the stories is all we hear or see in someone’s story. I think of the media lately and the way they have revealed some of the most shameful moments in the lives of others. It’s written down or broadcasted before everyone. How embarrassing that must be to have your most shameful moments on display for all to see.
This made me think of the most shameful moments of my own story. The most shameful moments of my own story might not be written down anywhere except my own memory but there are people who do know about those parts of my story. Am I defined by the things I am least proud of? Am I defined by the moments when I broke Gods heart? (Whether people know about it or not?)
What about your story? Are your most shameful moments written down? Maybe they come on a birth certificate from a precious baby who was born out of wedlock. Maybe your most shameful moment is written on a divorce decree. Maybe your most shameful moment is written on a medical record or a criminal record. Maybe your most shameful moment is now displayed in your credit score. Maybe your most shameful moment isn’t in writing anywhere but it seems as though everyone knows that part of your story…how embarrassing right? Maybe your most shameful moment is a moment that no one knows about at all. Maybe it’s something private between you and God, but the devil keeps rubbing it in your face, day after day.
God’s Word says:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4 NKJV)
There is NO CONDEMNATION! None! It doesn’t say just a little bit of condemnation, it says NO, zip, zilch, nada. No condemnation! You don’t have to hang on to the shame in your story when you hand it over to Jesus. When you confess your sin and turn from it, He forgives it and it’s washed away. He gave up His life on the cross for the shame in your story. You don’t have to be ashamed anymore! You don’t have to be embarrassed if your sin is written down, and everyone knows that part of your story. Jesus said it’s finished, wiped clean, and you are victorious. You are not defined by the shame in your story, and neither am I. Maybe the Lord wants to use the blemished spots of your testimony to draw people to Him. Maybe the shame in your story has a greater purpose.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
(II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)
When shame starts to take over, and you find yourself embarrassed because it seems as though everyone knows the ugly parts of your story, remind them, and yourself of all CHRIST did for you. When Satan keeps throwing the shame in your face, reminding you of where you’ve been (or currently are) remind him of where you stand with God. The Lord say’s you’re blameless before His throne, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
In His Love,
Originally published on September 2, 2015