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Shame; The Condition and the Cure

Apr 29, 2022 11:15:36 AM

Shame.
What does that word mean?
And what does it have to do with being a Christian?

A Christian is someone who follows Jesus, whose actions and heart reflects Jesus. The first people in the Bible were given that name because their “speech and behavior were like Christ”. Christians today aim for the same standard.

But there is something very human that holds us back from that standard. Sin and shame have walked hand in hand since the beginning of time. The very first instance of sin in the Bible is followed by humanity hiding from God, ashamed of themselves. Sin has continued to create this divide but we're not left alone in it.

James 5:16 says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

We are commanded to confess our sins to each other. Seems simple right? While it may be simple, it’s hard to follow through because of the shame that is often thrown onto people when they do share.

We are called to not live in sin but to live in the light that Jesus gives. So as Christians we are not called to condemn those who come to us living in sin, we are to show the love of Christ and let Him do the rest. We are called to listen and love people when they come to us and need to talk. The sad part is that we often don’t do that. So here is the dilemma. People are living in sin and oftentimes don’t know how to get freedom from it so they just feel stuck. They don’t want to go to a fellow believer for fear of being shamed or judged so they just sit in it.

On the flip side, sometimes our fear of conflict can make us overlook sin. While we are not supposed to condemn people for their sin, sin is not ok. Sin separates us from God and hinders our relationship with God. When we sin, we are turning away from the righteousness of God and turning to feed the things that keep us in bondage.

James 1:14-15 says “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Sin brings death.

But the good news is that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:9. Again, we are called to confess our sins and within the Kingdom of God, we are able to do that without being shamed or condemned.

So what do we do about this? We are called to love and forgive just as Christ did. When we do something wrong (sin) and we confess our sins to God, what does he do? Does he tell us how bad we are and hold it against us? Absolutely not. When God sent Jesus to take our place on the cross and take the punishment for our sin, he died once, for all of our sin, past, present, and future.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11

Our sins have been forgiven, covered by the blood of Jesus because he so mercifully took our sin. So when we do sin or turn from God, he doesn’t hold that against us. That is a promise. The word repentance means to turn away, to rearrange your entire way of thinking, feeling and being in order to forsake that which is wrong. We are called to turn away from our sin and turn back to God.

As Christians, we are to lead each other in this, to hold each other accountable. We are not to let our brothers and sisters in Christ feel shamed and alone in their sin, we are called to encourage and love them. We are not to condone our brothers and sisters when they are in sin, we are called to encourage and love them. How? It looks like being honest with ourselves. Everyone struggles with sin. We are called to lead each other back to Jesus by speaking truth into lives and praying for each other.

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.

It all starts with loving God and loving people well. It’s not a special formula that we have to remember, we just need to love. It’s hard sometimes. This is why we have to rely on the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26 says “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and to teach and help us to live the lives we ought as Christians. We can’t do it on our own and God knew that, so he sent his Spirit to dwell in us and help us. We can trust that as born-again Christians, when we are trying to live our best, God will be right there to help us out. This is what being a Christian means.

During DTS, we aim to create an environment that is free of shame and welcoming of vulnerability. We acknowledge that we're all on a journey of becoming more Christ-like but that journey cannot be taken alone! Practicing grace and humility in loving community begins to paint the picture of the Kingdom of God here on Earth. Interested in joining us for 6 months?

Apply today! ✨  

Interested in Jesus, adventure, and growing in your faith?

Do a Discipleship Training School, YWAM’s flagship missionary training course. It's a great gap year option. It's also perfect for anyone looking to step out of the ordinary and grow in your faith.

How does it work?

First, you’ll spend 3 months getting to know God amongst a vibrant Christian community and the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Then you’ll embark on a life-changing 2-month overseas missions trip, focused on making God known. A new DTS starts every September, January, April, and June! Submit your info below to learn more. 

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