Have you ever been afraid to tell someone something?
Ever had something you were – or maybe you still are – ashamed of admitting?
I was chatting with a sister in Christ earlier today and we just were talking back and forth about our own sins and temptations and I was mulling over the idea of how difficult it is sometimes to just share where we ARE. It’s easy to say “Oh, well, yeah I mean, I used to struggle with this-that-or-the-other-thing.” Once we’ve overcome stuff, it’s much easier to confess because there’s a victory associated with it, right? But to confess sin we’re currently battling is somehow more shameful. There’s more of a sense of failure that hovers above us when it’s a storm we’re in right now.
Let’s be real: sins aren’t pretty. Who wants to admit that they’re addicted to porn, lying compulsively, a gossip, a meddler, a cheater, sexually immoral, prone to same-sex attraction, etc, etc, etc…? I mean you get the point. Who wants to tell someone else that? Who wants to tell God that? I know for myself, sometimes putting it into words and confessing my sins to God out loud – even with no one else in the room. Hearing the WORDS come out of my mouth brings me shame.
And I’m taken back the story of the fall, the very first sin. Genesis 3, right? Adam and Eve ate the fruit and realized they were naked and they were ashamed, so they hid when they heard God coming through the garden. When God asked Adam why he was hiding in Genesis 3:10, Adam said to God that he was afraid. He was ashamed. He didn’t want to be naked before the Lord and how similar is that to what we feel when we’ve sinned? The illustration of Adam being afraid of being naked before God is so perfect I think, because I think sometimes our shame and embarrassment causes us so much fear of being rejected, shunned, or punished by God (or even by our fellow believers) that we hide it, and to expose it feels just as vulnerable as if we were to be completely naked in front of Him/them.
Can you imagine being that transparent and vulnerable? It’s difficult!
I know this is something I’m just barely scratching the surface on, but we are such a blessed bunch of sinners because despite our sin and shortcomings, we have this gift of Jesus who paves the way and sacrificed Himself to pay the price – taking that punishment that our sins deserved – so that we may boldly come before God. Though we might be naked and bare, and even when shame wants to creep in, Jesus is interceding so that we might be able to enter into the presence of and enter into relationship with God.
Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12
None of us has to be afraid of sharing our hearts, our hurts, our sin that makes us feel vulnerable with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice and willingness to intercede on our behalf. There is so much shame and condemnation projected on us by the world, sometimes even by the church that is just not of God.
As a former-single mother, I totally know that. I was more than a little nervous to come to church when I got saved. Most of my church community and church family accepted me and my daughter whole-heartedly but there were a few people who made some painful observations about me. I’ll never forget it, but someone said when I was a very new believer, that I was a promiscuous woman and therefore had a greater likelihood of divorce. That hurt SO much. And it took me quite a bit to really let the truth penetrate my heart on this issue: that doesn’t take redemption into account. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. And I don’t need to be ashamed. I was once that woman and I was once that statistic, but in Christ Jesus I am a new creation – the old has passed away and I don’t have to live in that shame anymore.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
1 Peter 2:24 tells us that Christ literally carried the cross for our shame and condemnation so that it no longer belongs to us. It’s not ours. We have nothing to fear – the entire wrath of God for the sins of all mankind from the beginning to the end has been taken out on Jesus on that cross and all that’s left for us is love. He gives us all that He is and He is love.
One of my favorite scriptures right now is Galatians 5:24 and it says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.” Our sin is dead, friends. We might be tempted, we might fall, but Christ carried it to the grave and we aren’t slaves to that anymore. And in that, we are no longer slaves to the shame that our sin brings. Rejoice and take heart because Christ overcame this world and is for you right this very moment. He is for you in your victory and He is for you in your struggle. And in all those seasons and in all those moments, HE LOVES YOU. Come and confess as you are. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.