Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Shame Is Defeated

Our culture is good at handing out shame. Some parents use it to control their children, and in the entertainment industry, shame is a common source of humor at someone's expense. We
moderns didn't invent the idea of shame: it's everywhere in ancient literature. But shame itself has been defeated, once and for all, in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, God-with-us. Do you need to get free of shame? Then take into yourself the kind of change experienced by the woman Jesus healed in Mark 5:24-34.

Jesus was going with one of the 'in' crowd, Jairus, to heal the man's daughter. A woman sneaked up behind him to touch his robe. Does that sound a little flaky to you? Well, it was because of shame. She had a physical illness that caused her to bleed constantly. It had been that way for 12 agonizing years (incidentally, Jairus's daughter was 12). Because of purity laws, she had to tell everyone around her she was 'unclean,' and whatever she touched became unclean too. She had been shamed like that, unable to have real contact with anyone, for 12 long years. She was so ashamed of her condition that she sneaked up behind Jesus, hoping that touching his clothing would help her be healed, but she was breaking the purity laws by touching Jesus, even the dusty hem of his robe.

What did Jesus do? He stopped and called attention to the healing power that flowed from him to her. Why? He didn't have to. She was further embarrassed by having to tell the Teacher -- and the crowd, many of whom knew her -- the story of uncleanness that caused her so much shame. But the Teacher listened to all of it and said "Daughter, [a tender term that a father would use] your faith has made you well." Then he said "Go in peace, your suffering is over." That statement wasn't just for her, although I'm sure she remembered those words the rest of her life. It was just as much for all the people listening, many of whom probably knew her story. She could now stand up straight and walk in public unashamed!

Jesus destroyed the shame in this woman's life, and then he defeated shame on the cross (Heb. 12:2). He has also defeated the shame in your life, wherever it came from. Sin is destroyed in Christ, and your new life of holiness has already been given to you as a gift. Just like that woman, you and I can stand up straight and look the world right in the eye, as forgiven, beloved and cherished -- and unashamed -- children of the Almighty. God loves you, and Jesus came to prove it. To her, and to you and me!

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