photo courtesy of Ildar Garifullin on Unsplash
When we bought a car several years ago, it was one of those purchases made of necessity. Our old car had literally given up the ghost. It shimmied like a disco dancer and then periodically lost power.
The car we chose had newer gadgets than we were used to. The back-up camera was incredibly helpful, though it took me quite a bit of time to trust it. I appreciated it’s smooth ride; it was quite an improvement from the old car.
What I struggled with was the annoying sound anytime I didn’t use my turn signal or got too close to the center line of the road. On mornings when I headed for work, more tired than was good, and would forget to use my signals or drifted too close to that line, the dadgum thing would beep at me.
It was not only annoying. It was shaming.
Having a car shame you for not driving precisely according to the rules is rough. Every time the beep sounded, it was a reminder that I’d failed to do something the vehicle intrinsically knew I should be doing.
This is minor compared to the damage that shaming from other people can cause.
Shame is one of the most dehumanizing emotions people experience. It comes from a self-conscious sense that something is fundamentally wrong with us. Our inadequacies become defining and limiting because we become convinced they’re what we really are.
God created us for more than that. We’re created in His image, not one of failure and despair but of hope and joy. Jesus came to live here with us, to be one of us, so He would experience all that we go through, He knew shame; the religious and political leaders did all they could to cause Him suffering.
Which He gladly experienced for us.
“I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from ALL my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Isaiah 34:4-5
Shame fills our world, and because of the brokenness of each of us, no one can escape its impact. With Jesus in our lives, He speaks truth to us–that we are loved, chosen, celebrated, and cherished, created for a relationship with Him. He sees us as worthy–it’s why He chose to die in our place.
When someone is seen as valuable, it changes the narrative of their story. Instead of being less than, we become more than we can imagine–worthy of love and grace.
Car shame is a bear, but people shame is destructive.
Jesus’ grace gift guarantees to remove the shame.
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