Shameless

It never really bothered me if my Mom got angry with me, if she spanked me (she did not spare the rod, and I am better for it), grounded me (she once grounded me for the rest of my life), took away privileges, added chores, or even yelled at me. I was sort of immune to her anger. But oh, let her say she was ashamed of me, and my heart would break. Just writing about it, I can still feel the weight of it.

It seems all my life I’ve carried a heavy load of guilt and shame. I know well the words King David cried out to God, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:4). From being abused and rejected, making countless foolish mistakes, hurting others, jumping into the pit of sin, and feeling responsible for the actions of my child – every failure left me with eyes cast down so as not to see on the face of God the sorrow my sin has caused Him. Rather than “approach the throne of grace with confidence,” I slink back into the cave of despair because I can’t bear to know that God is ashamed of me. Something tells me that you can relate.

Jesus came into this sinful world to set us free from guilt and shame and the evil that caused it. Listen to His words to Nicodemus, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17). Jesus came, not to point to you and me with all our bags and say “I AM ASHAMED OF YOU!” He came to say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Rest from the weight. Rest from the shame. Rest from the guilt.

Do you come to God this morning with a load of guilt and shame? Are you expecting chastisement and rejection? Look up, Beloved. Jesus has stretched out His nail-scarred hand to take your heavy bags of misery. He bids you rise and face the day, forgiven, freed, and radiant in His love.

Not Guilty!

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How foolish would it be for a pardoned prisoner to chose to stay in his jail cell? The warden would tell him, “The judge has pardoned you. You can walk out and go on with your life. You’re free!” His family would implore him, “You don’t have to stay here anymore. Please come home!”

How foolish are we when we have been forgiven by Jesus Christ yet continue to sit in the guilt and shame of our past? We’re like ex-prisoners who refuse to accept release. Perhaps it seems more pious to continue to mourn our sin, but in truth, it is implying that Christ’s work on the cross is insufficient. What sin have you committed that is greater than the blood of Jesus? What failure exceeds the power of God to forgive and restore? Are you listening to the enemy read off your list of pardoned crimes – or will you listen instead to the sweet voice of Jesus say “Forgiven!”? Charles Spurgeon says, “We stand in the sight of God accepted, as though we had never been guilty.” Paul said, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). If you have repented of your sins and received Jesus as your Savior, you are no longer guilty. That abortion? Not guilty! That affair? Not guilty! That time you stole something? Not guilty! That season of addiction? Not guilty! Whatever that thing is that weighs you down with shame – in Christ Jesus you are declared by God “Not guilty!” That ought to be good news to you and me. Beloved, take off that orange jumpsuit and put on the snow-white robe of the redeemed. It is time to come out of the prison of guilt and shame and get on with your new life in Christ.

Yes, I am a Daughter of the King

 

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“Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34).

(Grab your Bible and read Mark 5:25-34) 

I have long loved this story of the woman in Mark 5 – I think of her as a woman of great faith. She knew she was unclean, she knew she was an outcast, and she knew that she could be shamed, and possibly even worse, for being in a public place, bumping against “clean” people, and daring to touch a rabbi. But she also knew, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Not “Maybe” or “I might,” but “I will.” She was willing to risk public humiliation because her desperation caused her to have extraordinary faith. Are you desperate today?

I also love this story because I carried an “issue” of shame for a long time. One day I was reading Revelation 2, where the Lord declared to the church in Pergamum – “I will give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” The Sprit then sent me to this story in Mark 5 and He affirmed in my heart that He does not see me as a wounded, shame-filled woman. He calls me “Daughter.” That is my name. That is what is written on my stone.  I don’t claim that name as a “princess, daughter of the king,” as is so popular in Christian women’s circles these days. I receive it as one who was shamed and rejected, but is now – amazingly – adopted and loved by the King of the universe.  I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, some not so kind or loving.  To know that God – the perfect and holy One – not only saved me, but claimed me as His Daughter – well the thought absolutely stuns me.

Beloved, if you will come to Jesus – just as you are, with all your sin and shame and guilt and dirt – He will cleanse you and make you whole – forgiven, spotless, free.  He will take you to the Father who will claim you as His own – His beloved Daughter.  Maybe you, like me, didn’t have the best father-daughter relationship – or you didn’t have a father in your life much at all.  You can now.  

May you and I always be as bold as this woman to come to Jesus in all our uncleanness and reach for the hem of His garment in faith.  May we rise up and take our place as Daughters who are dearly loved and welcomed in the Father’s house.  And may we be always on the lookout for others who are longing for Father-love.  Let’s bring many daughters – and sons – into the family.