Light Prayers: 39. Light on Your Shame

Isn’t it odd that Christians generally walk in so much more shame than the pre-Christian sinners around them?

I pondered also the Christmas story being anchored in so much shame.

Joseph was brutally poor.  His whole clan seems to have lost their birthright of land in Bethlehem and fled to the well-shamed town of Nazareth to try to pick up the pieces.  No evidence that the restart got much traction.

The only asset he is known to have is his reputation.  When God says you are a righteous man, that is pretty phenomenal!  So knowing he was economically disadvantaged but that he had a brand of sterling integrity in the marketplace, God came to him and said, “I have a job for you to do.  Oh, and as a side note, I hope you don’t mind if I utterly trash your reputation in town for the rest of your life.”

God’s gift to Joseph.


Lots and lots of it.

But God wasn’t half done with Joseph and shame.  Through circumstances utterly outside Joseph’s control, he ends up not being able to provide basic resources for his wife and for  God’s child.

Few things leave a man feeling more emasculated than not being able to provide for family.


Lots of it.

That is the brand God choose to place on the birth of Christ.

Then there is the death of Christ.

Endless shame in the trials.

Shame on the cross.

And shame for all those who had bet their future on the Messiah.

I think of the glorious song “He’s alive” and Peter’s words:

“Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came.
Everything I’d promised Him
Just added to my shame.

“When at last it came to choices,
I denied I knew His name,
And even if He was alive
It wouldn’t be the same.”

This sums up most of our shame in two points:  things we think God promised us and the things we promised Him.

Yet, Christ came to resolve the shame issue on a thousand different levels.  At the Marriage Supper of the Lamb shame will be over once and for all.  Dignity will abound.  In the mean time, we wrestle with the issue regularly.

May God shine His light on the truth now so as to penetrate the shame the devil so intently wraps around you in every way, so that the next chapter of your life will be marked by more dignity.

Copyright December 2014 by Arthur Burk

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16 Responses to Light Prayers: 39. Light on Your Shame

  1. phyllis says:

    This, as most everything you write, hits the nail literally, on the head. As another person commented, the goal is that we do not let shame define us or our trust in God. Like Joseph and Mary, may we all walk through the shame in humble trust that the One Who called us is faithful to do ALL He promised–sooner or later by our time and space standards. He promises His grace is sufficient for each day. Not what might happen in the future or dwelling on our past failures or shame.

    I am alive and in this new Greg. calendar year, I hope to lift my eyes unto the hills from whence my help comes. In the meantime, I WILL praise His Name! Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle!!

    May the LORD bless you and your staff throughout this season and the next . . . He is faithful to accomplish everything He begins!!


  2. viviennehines says:

    Merry Christmas Arthur. I totally embrace this gife of waking free from shame.

  3. So “right on,” Arthur! If there is one thing that we could choose to eradicate from those with whom we work, it would be the toxic, identity-based shame. Realizing that shame will come but not letting it “define” us is one of the greatest challenges. Thanks for this post. Jerry and Denise Basel,;

  4. Katie says:

    Shame and trust go hand in hand with me. I found resistance to trust because of my past mindset of God being omnipotent and believing He should have stopped the things that brought suffering. I am having to rethink this ie. the free will of man verses God “allowing” evil for a season, and that “all” things work together for our good.iI find it hard to open my heart and risk being hurt after being hurt so badly, but that, I am learning, shuts out the good with the bad. Love takes risks, knowing God can heal and comfort, and realizing that my focus is to be one His face and to love the wounded as He has loved me. Have I arrived, no.But He is my pursuit.Even after we hurt Him, He did not shut Himself off from us. I know I do not fully understand His purpose in suffering but He is all knowing and He loves us in spite of our weaknesses. May we know and embrace Him for who He is and allow Him to live through us ,with us Jn15&17 in this coming year May we see Him as He is and become more and more like Him and desire to do and be what He has called us to.

  5. Noeleen says:

    Thank you

  6. Linda says:

    Amen! Got my guitar out and played along with “He’s Alive” recording, several times, to remind me that because of Christ, dignity DOES abound, over ALL shame.

  7. Melissa C. says:

    Thank you, Arthur, because I am continually unwrapping myriad layers, facets, colors and flavors of God’s gift to me, through you, of dignity. I am humbled and grateful.

  8. Nicolette Engelbrecht says:

    Weeping, sobbing I try to read through your post again and again… I want to SHOUT IT RIGHT INTO ETERNITY AND BACK: YES LORD!!!! SHINE YOUR LIGHT, LORD!!!!!!!!!!! Show us how YOU see our lives and not how we or others perceive, deduce and conclude it to be!!!! Thank you, Arthur The Brave!!! Bless you and yours in this time – and the next!

  9. Soo Fee says:

    I receive it. Thank you!

  10. Katie says:

    Romans 8:17&18
    I have been searching for answers.In key word searches, from my understanding, shame became our covering when Gods glory covering was removed from us due to the fall. Through Christ’s suffering,through suffering with Him, we partake of His Glory.if we suffer with Him we shall reign with Him.i somehow had believed that becoming a Christian brought more and more positive things but I’m learning what it means to take up my cross and love not my life unto death. It seems that to come to Joy we must go through suffering, just as Christ did. Hebrews 12:2

  11. Sherry says:

    Blessings, and thank you. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  12. nancy says:

    Thank you.

  13. kimberlymruth says:

    Thank you.

  14. ruthiespage says:

    I agree. a huge THANK YOU!

  15. Pamela says:

    Reblogged this on Light and Sound and commented:
    Wow, does this ever land! Thank you Arthur, I bet lots along with me are blessing you right back. I hope to learn to make dignity a part of my culture. It’s an effort to push back against the shame culture around me, but I can see where it’s making a difference and it’s spreading. Dignity is such a gift and opportunities to give it are everywhere. G-d help us to see and take advantage of such opportunities to partner with Him in advancing His Kingdom!

  16. Sonia says:

    Thank you Arthur!!! My journey of freedom truly began with you. I treasure the thousands of gifts of dignity through you. I bless you and pray for you!

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