Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Healing of Our Shame

I have been raised thinking in such a legal/performance way that when I fail, I am vulnerable to feeling I deserve punishment or seem to want to peanlize myself with shame or condemnation. Of course this is a lie from the enemy, because really, I already got punished for that sin and can't be punished twice! Christ didn't just die FOR me, He died AS me, and that means, as I read somewhere once, that "the old self you loathe is on the cross'!

The person who did the wrong got punished on the cross! There is no need to beat myself up about my sin, because the sinner has already been beaten and executed for that sin! The old man that I hated, that I felt so ashamed of for being so wrong and ugly and misshapen and ruined and hideous - is dead and buried and GONE! That person got what he/she deserved - death - when Christ died as me on the cross! That person is gone forever and doesn't exist anymore! That person is not coming back!

Justice has been served, so I can rest my case against myself! I am not that person anymore, and just as much as I hated that old self, I am now freed by Christ to love the new, true me that came out of the grave with Him, the new me He brought up with Him in the resurrection! Now I can love myself, because I am new, I am lovely, I am good, I am holy, I am pure, I am innocent, I am righteous, I am just like Jesus, being made of His holy and divine DNA and nature!

Thre isn't any shame or condemnation left...all of it was taken away at the cross when both my sins AND my old sinful self were wiped off the books! The new me that came forth is beautiful and lovable, and made just like Jesus! 

I'm glad to be rid of that old sinful self, yet somehow grace helps me to even love the old self I used to be!

The most amazing thing is that though I hated my old self and wanted to punish it and get rid of it, Jesus showed how amazing His love really it because it was that sinner that He loved, that sinner that He died for, that sinner that He came to rescue, that sinner that He saw as a wayward child lost from the Father's house!

And His death was a way to bring that child home and back into the Father's embrace, by freeing that child from all that bound him/her in shame and ruin, and giving that child a new and clean heart that would never turn away from the Father and never ever have sin come between them and the Father ever again!

He loved us at our worst and saw the Father's image there, distorted by sin but still there! He loved the sinner and rescued us from all that sin did to us! He wasn't ever vindictive or harsh. He wasn't ever wanting to punish or harm us. He only wanted to kill off the sins and the sin nature that had caused all the problems, being at its source just full of the enemy and his lies. God saw us at our worst and called us lovely and worth saving, precious and beloved, of high value and wanted!!! He saved us when we were at our worst, and He made us into His best through Jesus...

And so He made a way for us to even give grace to ourselves when we see any old sinful habit trying to resurface...we can give ourselves grace if we have a bad day, forget what grace means, or even get caught up in the lie of performance to earn acceptance!  We can give ourselves grace on our worst days, not only because those are just vestiges of the old man who got what he deserved and is gone, not who we really are now..but also because Jesus loved us when we were sinners, and we can even somehow love ourselves when we fail.  We don't have to be perfect to be graced!  We are loved with our failures, not in spite of them!  They are already taken care of and aren't who we are anyway.  And we can know that God loved us as sinners, so of course He'll love us as saints who sometimes don't act like their true identity!

So Jesus heals our shame by not only dealing with the old sinful self and his sins, but also by loving us while we were sinners, proving that He'll love us no matter what! 

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14