I had been shamed by someone very important to me, and I felt deeply hurt.
I asked my friend to pray for me. She opened her prayer by thanking Jesus for His presence with us. Then she thanked Him for me. But her words faded. In my mind, I saw a big glob of dirt resting on my arm and staying there. It seemed to say, “You are dirty and shameful. That is how you deserve to be treated.”
When my friend asked Jesus what He wanted to say to me, a new picture popped into my mind. My brother and I practically lived outside in our backyard when we were little. Mom never fussed at us for being too dirty. At the end of each day, she poured dish soap into our kiddie pool, and we played in the bubbles, never realizing we were taking our baths. Then she hosed us off, wrapped us in towels, and took us inside to get ready for bed.
Jesus spoke to my heart. “Your mom knew the difference between her kids and dirt. I know the difference between my kids and shame. This shame is not you. I can wash it off, just as your mom washed the dirt from you.”
In my heart, I felt the difference between shame and me. The glob of dirt was gone. Jesus held me in His arms. I was clean and free.
Internalizing shame comes easily. The words spoken over us shape our identity, making it essential for us to keep our focus on the words Jesus speaks about us in Scripture. As we let His words wash over us, we can repeat the words of the psalmist.
Whenever you feel smeared by shame, take refuge in Jesus. He knows the difference between you and shame.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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