The sense of shame is universal among humanity. We all feel a deep sense of shame for our failures and our continuing inadequacies. The way we would seek to solve our problem of shame is to deny or embrace the sinful cause of it. Don’t you see that this is what we do all the time?
We deny that we feel shame, because we excuse what we have done as “normal” or “acceptable.”
Caught in sin, we feel the pain of our guilt – the shame of it. And we look around us to see if there is anyone else who has been exposed. “Look!” we say… “Look! There are many others who have done this thing and worse! I have no reason to be ashamed.”
Or, we embrace our sin; and we think this is how we rid ourselves of shame.
Our minds torment us, and our broken hearts sink deeper within as our guilt compounds – our shame is overwhelming. Then, we look around us to see that there are many others who do those same things we have done, and they do not seem to be ashamed at all. In fact, they are embracing and even celebrating their sin. “Look!” we say… “Look! There are many others who do these very same things! My shame is only in my imagination, and there is no reason for it!”
Nevertheless, in all of this, the shame remains…
These foolish and feeble attempts to be without shame are all around us, and our lives are likely characterized by them.
But this is not the solution found in the Gospel! The solution for shame in the Gospel is altogether better. Consider the wisdom of God and be amazed by the richness of it!
God has looked upon the world of condemned sinners, sickened and oppressed by their shame. He has specifically observed you, and He knows what is hidden deep in your soul. He knows the secrets you keep, and He is well aware of your shameful sin. There is nothing in you that is not known to Him.
He knows that you deserve nothing but His righteous fury. He knows that your life of rebellion and wickedness should be exposed and scrutinized and condemned at this very moment. He knows that there is absolutely no reason that He should not drag you in front of His judgment seat without delay.
With all of this in His full and open view, He sees you cowering in darkness. Like your father, Adam, before you, He sees you hiding from your Creator.
And yet… And yet…
This Ancient of Days, the One in whom there is no darkness (1 Jn. 1:5) has put on human form and entered into your shadowy gloom! The God who is called “light” has shamed Himself among your darkness! In the person of Jesus Christ, the King of glory became the suffering and shameful servant!
Christ is the lofty and incomparable expression of God’s grace towards you! He has lived a life of perfect righteousness, earning a shameless standing before God. He is the only human to ever deserve to be called “not guilty.” But this same Jesus has taken your guilt and shame and made it His own.
Where is your shame, you sinner?! I will tell you where it is! It is exposed! It is already on display, but it is not your face upon the body of it. Christ Himself, He has carried it! He has borne it fully… all of it… not a bit left out.
On a Roman cross, Jesus endured the full judgment and wrath of God. Your sinful shame was placed upon Him, and every wicked thing you have ever thought, said, or done was exposed to God’s righteous fury.
Christ was counted shameful, bearing all of your shame, so that you may be counted utterly free! Truly free! Really free!
So, then… Those who believe, those who practice truth, those who trust in this gracious Savior, can come into the light. We may leave darkness without shame.