A documentary on the BP oil spill and the subsequent spraying of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico showed shocking images of wildlife covered in oil.
Fisherman compared healthy shrimp caught before the spill with those caught afterwards. The affected shrimp had overgrown heads, were missing eyes, and had strange growths on their bodies. The poisonous oil spewing into the ocean from below and the dispersants sprayed onto the ocean from above had not only covered the creatures but had also absorbed into their beings.
Shame can operate the same way by sticking to us like tar or by going into our beings and becoming part of who we are—especially if we experience it during our formative years. I absorbed the perceptions of an emotionally abusive stepparent into myself, as if they were true. But Jesus is transforming me by reshaping my perception of myself through His eyes.
We can feel shame for making mistakes that aren’t moral failures, for things said or done to us, and for other aspects of ourselves we have no control over—such as where we come from or what we look like.
Shame can leave victims of abuse with the feeling they are somehow bad. A misshapen identity can negatively affect the way a person interacts with others and operates in the world. It can also affect what they attempt in life.
The salvation Jesus offers not only removes our sin debt and enables us to be in a right relationship with God but also removes our shame—whatever the source.
If the source of our shame is sin, forgiveness takes care of it. If it is some sin committed against us, forgiveness can take care of that too. Allowing our identity to be reshaped into what God Himself says is true about us can erase shame, no matter the source.
Whether shame has stuck to you like tar, or gone deep in your DNA, Jesus can remove it. We are new creations. We are the righteousness of God in Christ, and God is not ashamed to be called our God.
If God is not ashamed of you, don’t be ashamed of yourself.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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