26 September 2013

You SHOULD be ashamed of yourself ~

Have you ever been told that?

I have.

Apparently a lot of other people have, as well.

And it doesn't seem to be anything that anyone anywhere ever likes to hear.


doesn't seem to be anything that anyone anywhere ever likes to feel.


I agree. I hate being shamed. I hate feeling shame.

(On the other hand, I can't claim I'm completely above shaming - or trying to shame -someone else... More on that, later...)

And lately, it would seem the church (at large) has determined, almost militantly to remove any and all concept of shame...

That is wrong. That is sad.

It is, in fact, something to be ashamed of... We've become ashamed of the fact that without Christ, His sacrifice and His gifting of His covering to all who will simply ask, we ARE infinitely shameful. That sounds a lot like the Gospel. It's a fine twisting of what God gifted as a powerful tool to drive us to Him.

Afternoons this year, I have Mary Michelle, who only goes to school half days... and also the privilege of her cousin - who comes to play while her mama works.

Earlier this week, they were watching Tom and Jerry while I was trying to get some work accomplished around our house. The TV is back in our bedroom, so I poked my head in and told them I had to run downstairs, pull the dry stuff out of the dryer and put the wet stuff in, and then start another load of laundry. When I ran down, I discovered that I'd forgotten to start the dryer the last time, so I pushed the button and came back up to discover that my sweet girlies had closed the bedroom door. I've already learned that a closed door often means kids up to no good... 

When I opened the door, those sweet little girls were clearly up to no good. I knew it, but more importantly, they knew it and instantly, completely, their shame clothed them like a garment... before I ever said a word... before they even turned heads to see the look in my eyes. All it took was the mere sound of mama opening the door and walking in the room, and immediately, shame swaddled them in their knowledge that the one to whom they were accountable had witnessed a depth of their depravity.

Shame is a bad word in American culture at large... but also in the evangelical church. A well-known, very popular blogger whom I read from time to time (I often appreciate what is said, but struggle with the way it is written) recently wrote: 
Jesus stands on the side of the broken, the outcast, the scandalous. He sees us at the very core of creation, naked and unashamed, meant to walk in a garden now locked to humanity. He sees us, hungry for knowledge and starved for love, eating from the first tree in front of our faces, plucking the fruits of deceit and selfish ambition, snacking on lust, stuffing ourselves with greed, sucking away at vanity. And still He comes to us without condemnation - without shame.
Shame is a byproduct of a dying world. It's a shackle that binds us to our brokenness. It is Shame who first points a finger and cries out, “Look at you! You're NAKED!”, and tells you to run and hide. Shame warns you to cover up, hide your junk, don't get caught. Shame clothed us in fig leaves and nestled us in the bushes; shame led the way right out of Eden, and still it barricades the door. 
If you believe shame is the pathway to obedience, I'm sorry, but your gospel is twisted. Shame is no friend of Jesus. 
I agree that much of what is written above is truth. 

Shame is not the pathway to obedience. Jesus does stand by the broken. He can and does see each one of us as we could be without our sinfulness and shame. Shame is a byproduct of a dying world... 

...but we cannot forget that this world is dying because man choose sin and disobedience and man continues to make that very same choice time and time and time again. Shame socked Adam and Eve right in the gut and in that doubled over place, they recognized their nakedness and shame. More importantly, shame showed them they were naked and that covering was desperately and absolutely needed to stand in the Presence of the High and Holy One. 

People can't really shame us, though they may try... But they don't need to... All they can do is lovingly or hatefully remind us of what we already know. I found it interesting that the very first mention of shame in the Bible - Genesis 2: "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."  - refers specifically to the presence of shame as we stand in the presence of other men and women... not shame as we stand before a holy God.

Apart from Jesus, we ALL blatantly wear our shame, all of the time. We try to cover it up with gorgeous words, good deeds, great sacrifice, grand giving... but like the fig leaves Adam and Eve "coutured," our deeds, done at our own initiative to keep others from seeing the realities of our heart are nothing more than attempts to preserve an image, gain favor or convince others to believe a lie... and they are woefully inadequate to earn any favor with God. 

Frankly? That is why we need Jesus - Only He can cover shame... I cannot deny the powerful benefit of recognizing my shame, because it is often what motivates me to run to Him...

Christ alone replaces our shameful sin sullied robes with His very own...

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered 'neath God's rage.
Draped in His righteousness I'm justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God's daunting Law, Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand, with righteous works not mine.
Saved by my Lord's vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God's justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father's pleased.
Christ drank God's wrath on sin, then cried, "Tis done!"
Sin's wage is paid, propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God's beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone.
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

I cling to Christ and marvel at the cost.
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise, my all, shall be for Christ alone.

--Chris Anderson/words 
--Greg Habegger/music

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