Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Mid-Week Message - The Lie of Shame
"I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces." Psalm 34:4-5 (NLT)
Read that verse again. Now, read it as it is written in The Message Bible. "God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him."
One of the things I do each week, as I am choosing the verse for the weekly message, is to read it in several different versions, or translations, of God's Word. Doing so helps me to understand more clearly what I need to share. This week, this precious verse from Psalm 34 grabbed my heart because I have dealt with shame most of my life.
It is no secret that I have struggled with obesity throughout my lifetime. Aside from the physical aspects of carrying extra weight, there are also many emotional, mental and spiritual issues that arise that are, at times, heartbreaking and shame inducing. I have spent more time than can be imagined before my Heavenly Father begging for His forgiveness for my lack of success over what I consider my "thorn in the flesh." And I have carried shame over the sin of overeating and sometimes found myself trying to hide from the One who loves me completely. Now you can see why the verse means so much to me and why I cherish the idea of not having to be ashamed in His presence.
Shame is one of the worst burdens that we can carry. It screams at us that we are not worthy of acceptance, friendship or love from anyone, anywhere at any time. Though those around us cannot hear the cacophony, we often hear nothing else. It is constantly reminding us that we are less than anyone else and will never be able to escape its clutches. Moreover, it leaves us with the gnawing assumption that sooner or later everyone will know who and what we truly are.
This is a lie! Shame is a weapon used by the enemy who wants to keep us from experiencing the freedom that Jesus bought for us with His blood. Romans 3:23 tells us that, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Shame is based on what we have done wrong, which is sin. So, if all have sinned then none of us is better than anyone else. Comparing ourselves to others is assuming that somehow their sins are not as bad as ours.
The word "sin" is an archery term which means, "missing the mark." Whether your arrow falls inches or yards short of the target doesn't matter. Both have missed the mark. So it is with sin. It doesn't matter what our sin has been, we have all missed the mark with God. That is why He sent His son! He came to make atonement for our sin and to reconcile us with the Father. Now Jesus Himself intercedes for us. When we accept Him as our Savior and Lord, our sins are forgiven so there is no need to stand in shame before our Creator.
I am grateful for those that the Lord used in my life to shepherd and teach me. They showed me that my acceptance and love from Him depended on Jesus, not on myself. Being obese has made my life more difficult but God does not turn away from me because of it. Instead, He has walked this road beside me, encouraging and guiding me and reminding me that His love is bigger than I could ever be. I am His child whom He adores.
I have no way of knowing why this message was placed on my heart this week. I never do. I only hope that He will use it for His glory. If you are struggling with guilt or shame today, I urge you to go to Him and allow Him to love you through it. If He did it for me, He can, and will, surely do it for you as well. God bless.