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
From the Hub