Monday, December 8, 2014

Relief and Release from Shame

The Cross provides relief, and we are called to receive and keep receiving that relief:

"28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Shame is a terrible teacher. Condemnation ensures that individuals will continue engaging in the same bad behavior.

Jesus preached grace to the woman caught in the act of adultery:

"10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8: 10-11)

I have to stress that Jesus did not arbitrarily forgive her. The same phrase "lifted up himself" is the same verb to describe what Moses did with the bronzed serpent, and what Jesus would become for all the world:

"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me. 33This he said, signifying what death he should die." (John 12: 31-33)

Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1: 29). He took our sins away, and therefore He could preach to the woman in adultery, and Paul writes to us in Romans:

"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8: 1)

Now, for the longest time, I would feel bad, and then I would automatically think - what did I do to feel bad? What did I do wrong?

The fact is, that question does not matter. What we did does not matter. What Jesus did, that is what matters. People need to stop looking at themselves, and start looking at Jesus, our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1: 30)

People will make you feel bad if you let them, and oftentimes we let people make us feel bad because we do not understand the fullness of all that Jesus has done for us. There is no shame at all, and we are not supposed to give it any credence or attention, just as Jesus did:

"Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12: 2)

People cannot make us feel bad. We may think badly in response to how people treat us, or we can scorn the shame and keep receiving His grace. Today, I choose the latter.

We understand that He took all our sin, and His blood has eternal consequences, ever-cleansing us (1 John 1:7)

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