Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not ashamed

Hebrews 2:11b “For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters”

I went flying off the high dive into the pool. And I swam around for a few minutes before I realized that the impact had split the seam on my suit. I was 12 years old and suddenly realized that others had probably seen more that I wished to display. Swimming swiftly to the side of the pool, I dashed for my towel and ran to the dressing room.

As I ran, I just knew that every laugh, every whisper, every voice, was about me. With the horrible self consciousness of an almost teenager,  I turned bright red with shame as I sped away.

Early on in life we learn to be self conscious and eventually we learn shame. Sometimes we have done things which are shameful. And sometimes, we are just so acutely sensitive that we can feel shame simply because of peer pressure.

Shame. We’ve all felt it. Shame for something that was not our fault, like my high dive and shame for things that were certainly our fault.

Sometimes it becomes a vicious circle. When I drugged, I felt bad afterwards, ashamed of how stupid I'd been, and of some of the things I'd done, or things I couldn't remember. Of course eventually getting high again removed the shame, at least for a while. And it started the circle all over again.

Over the course of my life, the desire to be part of the "in" crowd, to not be shamed, caused me to do things I would probably never have done otherwise, make fun of people I actually liked, and do many things I wished I now wish I had not.

Living out the fear of shame and humiliation makes us do and say horrible things to each other. There are very few of us who don't wish we could take back an insult, a put down, or hurtful word that we know left someone else drenched in shame.

Thankfully God begins to heal us. The writer to the Hebrews says that Jesus is not ashamed of us. In fact he calls us brothers and sisters. The Lord who knows the awful things I've done is not ashamed to hang around with me and to tell people I'm part of the family.

May God give us grace to know that acceptance to the very depth of our being and grant that same love and acceptance to others. And may he give us opportunities to put right the hurt we have caused. And may we know that his love has put away our shame.

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