The teacher scowled down her nose at two seven year old boys. “You should be ashamed. Why don’t you look ashamed?”
The smaller boy, who’d grow up and become my husband, tugged his ear, “I don’t know how to look ashamed.”
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown tells the story of a conversation a woman had with her neighbor that encapsulates the risk of exposing our flaws. When the woman revealed that she was a recovering alcoholic, her neighbor said, “Well, I’m not sure I feel comfortable with my kids playing at your house any more.”
The first woman swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and said, “Your children have been playing at my house for two years. I’ve been sober for over twenty years. I haven’t changed in the last ten minutes. Why have you?”
This story shows why we carefully hide our shortcomings under cloaks of knowledge, professionalism, humor, kindness, perfectionism, and accomplishments. We strive to impress God with our busyness. If fellow strugglers can’t handle our faults, how could a holy God embrace our unvarnished nakedness?
Sadly, some religious teachers and well meaning parents mistakenly believe shame and guilt will make us holy. In reality, shame fosters addictions, bullying, isolation, and hypocrisy.
On the other hand, Jesus startles us with grace. He tells the woman caught in the act of adultery that He doesn’t condemn her. He reveals a holy God’s hatred of sin but unconditional love for flawed humans in a few simple words, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us.
Think about your struggles and the times you’ve failed. Now read these amazing words from God to you:
“26 The Spirit helps us in our weakness…the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 …the Spirit intercedes for God’s people…
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:26-39 NIV).
In light of the above passage, consider these questions:
- How does the Spirit respond to you in your weaknesses (v. 26-27)?
- How does God redeem your failings (v. 28)?
- What member of the Godhead condemns you (v. 31-34)?
- Where is God’s love when you mess up (v. 35-39)?
When we confess our faults to Jesus, He points to the cross. “Yep, I covered that one too. I promise I’ll take the sin, disappointment, and pain you’ve given to me and use it for your eternal good and the good of all who love Me. Now go, in the power of the Spirit, and live like My royal heir. Share My transforming love with others.”
If you believed these Scriptures applied to you and your failures how would it change the way you lived? The way you treated others? They do apply to you and me. Now let’s stop being ashamed. Let’s let Jesus lift us up to be more than we ever thought we could be.
I value your thoughts. Click here to comment. And if you enjoyed this post, please share the love with your friends!
Debbie W. Wilson
Give Yourself a Break: Discover the Secrets to God’s Rest by Debbie W. Wilson
You Raise Me Up — Seleh song on Youtube
Sometimes I link to the following great sites:
Titus Tuesday, Reflect link up, Turn it up Tuesdays, #TestimonyTuesday, #IntentialTuesday, #TuesTalk, #Tell it to me Tuesdays, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #LivefreeThursday, #WordswithWinter, #Grace and Truth