I’ve been thinking a lot about regrets and the shame associated with most regrets. I have regrets of words unspoken to my Dad; regrets of many times when I chose to worship self instead of my Creator; regrets of ignored opportunities to speak a word about my Savior; regrets of rashly spoken words in the heat of the moment; regrets of blatant sin and a calloused attitude toward those sins; regrets of missed chances to do a Good Samaritan deed; and the list could go on. My point is that all of us have regrets of some kind or another. Regrets are normal in our day to day living because we are human and we aren’t perfect in our manifestation of Christ in us.
It’s good to reflect on those regrets to an extent but what really matters is what we ultimately do with them. In my life, one of Satan’s most effective tools is shame. Shame and regrets often go hand in hand. Shame is an elusive agent to track down. It has a tendency to lurk in the background. It’s not out front with its influences but it rears its head when I’m weak and discouraged in the Christian battle. Satan waits until I’ve fallen and then he pours on the power of shame. He uses shame to try to persuade me that it’s not worth fighting anymore. “Look at all the times you’ve face-planted in the muck of sin. You can’t ever pull away from the shame of it all. You may as well just keep living how you want to instead of following God because you’re a failure and you’re a shame to God. There’s no way God doesn’t remember your failures. In fact, it’s because of Him that you feel ashamed and dirty” and on and on. When I’m down and out, those lies initially make a whole lot more sense than the absolute truths spoken by God the Father.
Jesus died to redeem my shame. The concept that grace and forgiveness eradicates my debilitating shame is beyond comprehension. When all I see and feel is the overwhelming, paralyzing darkness of shame, I can’t grasp the truth that there is Someone who removes my shame and doesn’t even see it anymore. Jesus doesn’t look at me and see my shame; He looks at me and sees His child who He gave His all for her forgiveness and redemption. I’ve hidden so long behind my mask of shame that it’s scary to have the Light dissipate that shame. No longer am I “protected” by my shame; I’m stripped of its familiarity and “safety” and my heart is now naked and vulnerable before my Father and before mankind.
Shame can quickly become a person’s best friend. We don’t like the sway it has over us and yet we find a certain comfort in it. Satan knows that if he gets us paralyzed by shame; it’s an easy slide back into our favorite sins. If I continue to be manipulated by my shame, in essence I am doubting the power of Jesus’ blood and limiting His ability to redeem and sanctify me and my shame.
Some Scriptures that recently reached me in my shame: Isaiah 54:4-8, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 8:40-48, and John 8:1-11. I highly recommend that you dig into these Scriptures and allow the truths of them to sink in to your heart’s innermost chamber. I also challenge you to allow Jesus to enter into that chamber of shame with you and touch you with His healing hand of love.
I’m committed to daily make conscious effort to rid myself of shame and bathe in the redeeming, powerful love of Jesus, my Savior.
A lot of these thoughts have been sparked by a book I’m reading right now. “Shame Interrupted” by Ed Welch, counselor at CCEF. If you have the chance to read it, do!