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What Does the Bible say About Shame?




Jared:

Someone wants you to preach a five to 10 minute sermonette on shame.


Pastor David:

On shame. Okay. Hmm. Shame. It's interesting this question has come up. I was actually thinking about this.


Jared:

Really?


Pastor David:

Like a couple of days ago.


Jared:

There you go.


Pastor David:

I was thinking about how we always look at shame from the negative aspects of it. But I was thinking about it from the positive. Can you imagine there's a positive element to shame?


Jared:

Yes.


Pastor David:

So obviously shame at a general level, when shame destabilizes, disables, destroys. When shame modifies right actions, and we enter into self-destructive behaviors. When shame influences our approach to God, to where I'm unworthy. I'm undeserving.


Pastor David:

And I would suggest that unworthy and undeserving exists. The context is I'm letting shame dominate to where I can't accept or receive what God freely gives because of the shame. Whereas there is the positive element of shame in the sense of that if I have no embarrassment, if I have no sense of, "Wow, that was really bad. That was really wrong. How could I do that?" If that doesn't exist, will I ever come to repentance? Will I ever change my behavior.


Pastor David:

And so now God, doesn't shame us into positions. We shame ourselves. So the idea of shame is doing something we regret, doing something that embarrasses, humiliates us and our sensibilities. And it's usually how we relate to ourselves and the stuff that we are dealing with that causes that feeling or that response.


Pastor David:

So, the Bible tells us that we're not to function based on shame, and that we're not to allow it to control how we relate to God or others.


Jared:

Definitely.


Pastor David:

Because it becomes a barrier. But I also think it's a problem when there is no shame. I watch what people say and what people do without any sense of how horrible it is or how defacing it is.


Jared:

Or how it's affecting other people.


Pastor David:

How it's affecting other people, or even how it's affecting themselves. And it's like, shouldn't you have a little bit of shame here? So you think about, sometimes that embarrassment is a healthy influence to bump you into the right place. And I'm not saying God does that. But what I am saying is that becomes a mechanism whereby God brings conviction to our lives and says, "I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want to experience that anymore. I don't want to feel that anymore." So you can see where I'm going with it. I'm bouncing all over the place.


Pastor David:

So if I was to take it and go to Roman's chapter eight, verse two, one and two. It says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to flesh, but according to the spirit." So the very first thing, the idea of condemnation carries with its shame. Carries with it guilt. Carries with it, what's the term, not the renunciation, but the consequence. Not just the physical consequence, but the emotional consequence, the mental consequence, even the spiritual consequence associated to behaviors or actions.


Pastor David:

So God says there's no more condemnation. So that condemnation does not exist for those who are where? In Christ Jesus. So if you think about what would shame you, the first effects of shame are really found in the disobedience in the garden. Adam and Eve disobey, do what God told them not to do. And their first awareness, their first embarrassment, their first shame, is the recognition of their own nakedness. It was something that existed before the moment of their sin. So sin is what magnifies shame. So there's nothing about their body, their nakedness. God wasn't embarrassed. He created them that way. The problem is that now that they have a different filter, a different lens, they saw themselves differently. They saw what God created as perfect and beautiful as now something to be ashamed of.


Pastor David:

And they said, "Well, we hid ourselves," because that's what shame does. Shame drives you away from God, and away from his voice, and away from his word, and away from his community, and away from his presence. When he's trying to approach, it drives you away. You try to cover it up and you do a bad job. You sew leaves together. Can you imagine? This is the first sewing effort ever done on planet earth, and they decide to use leaves to do it. So you know this isn't a good job. So it's this cobbled thing. So now they're walking out, not in the glory of their originally created- Being. But now they're walking out in with plants surrounding them. Not because of what God thought of them, but because of what they thought of themselves.


Jared:

Yeah. It's a sad scene. It's like so sad.


Pastor David:

It's completely sad. And they said, "Well, we heard you, we heard you coming, and we hit ourselves because we were because we were naked." So they were ashamed of themselves, and they were ashamed of what God made them to be. And he said, "Who told you were naked?" "Where'd you get this perspective?" "Because I've never related to you based on the thing that is embarrassing you now. I'm not relating to you that way."


Pastor David:

Which means God sees us completely and totally. It's only when we see ourselves that shame really is manifested. We get our eyes off of him. We get our eyes on us. That's when shame comes in. So going back to Romans, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. So I am hidden in Christ. He takes my shame away. Right? So now I'm not seeing myself. I'm seeing myself in Christ. He bore my sickness. He bore my disease. He bore my sorrows. He bore my guilt. He bore my shame. He bore it all on the cross. So he accepted all of that shame. So we fast forward thousands of years, Jesus is hanging on a cross and how's he hanging on across? Well, for the sake of art, we put a loincloth on him, but the reality is he's hanging naked.


Pastor David:

He's exposed to the world and you see the consequence of the actions of Adam and Eve being lived out in a perfect soul. And he's bearing the shame of all humanity for all time. He's bearing it, and he's bearing it in the thing that would embarrass almost anybody and everybody else. And he's a public spectacle for something he didn't do. The worst possible position he could be put in. And you never see him relating to himself with a sense of shame, even on the cross. Think about that. Jesus doesn't say, "Oh, I'm embarrassed. Oh, I'm ashamed. Oh, I'm sorry." He doesn't use any of that language.


Pastor David:

Instead he does what? "Father, forgive them." They put me here.


Pastor David:

Forgive them for what they're doing, for what they've done. They don't even understand.


Pastor David:

They don't get it.


Pastor David:

So he still isn't relating to the shame of the sins of all humanity being placed on him, and him being naked before the world.


Pastor David:

He's not sitting there trying to cover it up or make an excuse, or even having some simple, basic empathy for himself or sympathy for himself. He's not relating to himself out of self pity in any way. In any way. And he's ministering to people out of this shameful position, naturally. It's remarkable.


Pastor David:

So there's no condemnation to those who are there who are in Christ. You could be in the worst place in your life, but if you're in Christ, he removes the shame. So the next verse is critical, and I'm gone past my five minutes. There's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who... So there's a condition we have to meet: Who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.


Pastor David:

So in other words, shame is always related to when we're relating to ourself in the flesh.When we're only seeing ourselves based on what I do, what I didn't do, what I said, what I didn't say. If we only relate to ourselves in that way, condemnation will always be there. But if I'm following the spirit, what's he going to do? He's going to lead me to Christ, going to lead me to his word.


Pastor David:

He's going to correct me when I'm wrong. If I do something that creates that shame, then he's not going to sit there and go, "Shame, shame, shame." He's going to say, "Okay, here's what we do about it."


Pastor David:

So, who walk not according to flesh, but according to the spirit, for, next verse. Verse two. For the law. For the law of... Oh, I got to read it now. My mind just... This normally doesn't happen. You can tell I've crossed over into 60. So look at this. I love it. "For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." So the law of sin and death is what produces shame, condemnation. But the law of the spirit of life in Christ frees me from that.


Pastor David:

So the important thing here is the word, law. The word law means a controlling power that enforces itself on your will. So for the law. So you're going to be controlled by a law. You're going to be controlled by a law. You got to decide which one you're going to be controlled by. Am I going to be controlled by the law of the spirit of life that's in Christ? Or am I going to be controlled by the law of sin and death?


Pastor David:

If I'm controlled by the law of sin and death, then condemnation, guilt, shame is always going to be a part of my life. If I'm controlled by the law of the spirit of life in Christ, seeing myself in Christ, following the spirit, not following the flesh. If I'm doing that, then I'm free from the law of sin and death. I'm free from sin and condemnation and shame.


Jared:

Yeah. Yeah. That control element of I have to be submitted to that law.


Pastor David:

Yeah. Yeah. The idea of true freedom does not exist. And what I mean by that is it only exists by serving God. It only exists by coming under the laws of God. So think about this. Just comparing the idea of the law. You're going to be under the law. You're either going to be under the law of Christ, or you're going to be under the law of sin and death. Okay. Let's compare. Ready? If we go all the way back to Adam and Eve, how many laws were there?


Jared:

None.


Pastor David:

There was one.


Jared:

Oh, don't eat from the, yeah, yeah.


Pastor David:

That was it. You can do anything you want. There's no limits, no barriers. There's no rules.


Jared:

Just one thing. Yeah. Right.


Pastor David:

One. Since then, how many laws are there?


Jared:

Are you talking about the Levitical law?


Pastor David:

Just pick any law. It doesn't matter.


Jared:

Yeah. Yeah.


Pastor David:

Because everything that's been produced, once that law was broken, is now about let's control behaviors, attitudes, societies, environments. By what? By laws. Right? Because we have to control the flesh somehow. And laws are the things that control the flesh. So are you going to be under the one law, the law of Christ, which is the law of love now, the law of grace? Or are you going to be under the law of sin and death. The thousands, the millions.


Jared:

I was going to say countless if we're counting all the laws.


Pastor David:

Of laws that exist to order your steps, govern your life, decide how you're going to live, how you're going to do, how you're going to walk, how you're going to talk, how you're going to relate, how you're going to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And we're making laws every day. We're making laws every day, and we're changing laws every day. We're doing it every day all across the world. So you can choose to live under the single law of God, and Jesus even iterated that. He said all the law and the prophets, all of the laws and all of the prophets, everything that's been written to control the flesh, to try to make you a decent person, all of that is subject to this one law. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.


Pastor David:

That's it. You do that, you're good. So Jesus came to restore us to a one law.


Jared:

That's so cool. I've never thought about it that way. That's like such a cool connection.


Pastor David:

So you get to decide. Do you want to live in the complexity of the flesh, or do you want to live in the freedom of the spirit? So there you go. There's a couple thoughts.


Pastor David:

I don't know if that's what that person was looking for.


Jared:

I think it's good. I mean, I thought it was interesting when you talked about the positive aspect of it because I was like, well, I think that can get confused to somebody that wants to keep this like pet shame around. But, yeah, it is that going under the control of Jesus keeps you to where that shame doesn't become shame. It becomes, okay, let's fix it. Let's figure this out.


Pastor David:

The conviction. It's like, "Wow, that was stupid." And I should be embarrassed because I behaved that way.


Jared:

Right. And you don't just sweep it under the rug.


Pastor David:

It's not like, "Oh, I never did that." We rationalize, minimize and justify things so that we look better. That's our leaves that we put over ourselves. And they're frail, and they're fragile. And they actually expose that we are really messed up. So God tells you to own it. So just own it, and he's not going to run from you. He's going to tell you the truth. He's going to speak the truth to you, because that's what's going to bring freedom to you.


Pastor David:

So shame isn't ignoring it or pretending like you're something you aren't. Shame, I hate to use the word shame. There's probably a better word. But the idea here is that you want your child to be embarrassed by certain things.


Pastor David:

I don't want my grandson saying certain things, behaving in certain ways and not feeling bad about it. I want him to have a sense of- That was wrong. And shame is one of those elements that help produce that.


Pastor David:

So there is a positive aspect to it. But I do understand that they were probably looking at it more from the negative. I totally get it, and I would tell you that, no, you should not order your life by shame. You should not be regulated by shame. But the only way you can really be free from it, the only way you can really be free from it, is to be under the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.


Jared:

Yeah. That is the piece that you have to have with that.


Pastor David:

You got to have it. If you don't have it, you'll always be regulated by shame.


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