Shame and Hope…
I don’t know about you, but there are things in my past that I am ashamed of. I’d rather not make a list, but my hunch is you might have some of the same things on your list that I have on mine.
I am ashamed of thoughtless words that came out of my mouth and hurt people. I am ashamed of impulsive anger that inflicted deep wounds on others. I am ashamed of moments I gave into temptation. It was only later I rethought my actions and realized I could have made different choices. If I had made those choices, my life would be different.
I know I am forgiven. I believe in God’s deep grace, His powerful love, and His broad forgiveness. I know Jesus’ death and resurrection has taken care of my debt.
My trouble lies in forgiving myself. My storehouses of shame become perverse holdings that invalidate the grace and peace of God. My twisted soul finds delight in returning to the pain of the past. Somehow going back to the shame re-enforces the negative voice that whispers again and again, “You are worthless. Look, this is all you are. You are your failures.”
This is why I need hope. You need it too.
Hope comes like storm, blowing away the stench of shame. Hope comes like a bulldozer, moving mountains of memories into the ocean of grace. Hope comes like an axe, cutting the ropes of self-blame that tie me to a past I can’t undo.
Hope is much more than a pleasant thought. It is the power of Jesus resurrected, pulling me forward, away from all that would remind of me of who I no longer am. I am a new creation in Christ, not defined by my failures, not imprisoned by my shame, but defined by His grace.
This Sunday and Monday, partaking the Lord’s Supper, we will remember Jesus’ great grace. But we will also claim the powerful hope that sets us free from shame, from guilt, from failure, from sin, and from our twisted, distorted perceptions of ourselves.
We, God’s children, are people of hope!