Read Psalm 31.
Shame. What does this word mean to you? For me, shame has been whispering lies to me my entire life without me even noticing until recently.
When I was growing up, my parents took me to church every Sunday. Instead of going to “big church” (basically what we called the regular gathering) with my parents, they would send me and my brothers to Sunday School, so we could be with all the kids our own age. While this sounds like it would be fun, I dreaded it every week. You see, no one would talk to me or look at me. I felt invisible. Everyone who went knew each other from school and well, I didn’t go to the same school as everyone else. So for years I was ashamed of who I was. I thought something was wrong with me. This is just one example of how the enemy has used lies to tell me that I’m not good enough / not a child of God / not beautiful.
In Psalm 31 David also experiences shame. He shares some horrific circumstances that he is going through:
I have become an object of dread to my acquaintances, those who see me in the street flee from me, I have been forgotten like one who is dead, they plot to take my life. (vs. 11-13).
We’ve all been there. Well, maybe not quite to this extreme, but we’ve all experienced shame in one form or another. Maybe your boss makes you feel inadequate or maybe you did something in your past that makes you feel like God can’t forgive you. Whatever it may be, it’s time to ask God to help us live a shame-free life. Because if we don’t, and we keep believing these lies, we can’t fully be or know who God has called us to be.
David cries out twice against shame in verses 1 and 17. He has to actively fight from believing these lies that he’s not good enough, and so do we. How can we do that? We can start by trusting that we are His. After David shares all of these difficult circumstances, he responds by saying, BUT I trust in you O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Despite our strength failing and our bones wasting away (vs. 10), we can find our strength from within.
2 Corinthians 4:16 says, So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. In Unashamed Christine Caine says,
"Shame prompts us to toss away the good gifts we are given. Shame teaches us to hide ourselves wherever we can find a wall of protection. Shame pushes you down and prevents you from becoming all you could be. Shame whispers lies to your soul. But because we are believers, God is actively working in and through us. With God in us, we can fight these lies. We can stand up against the enemy."
So let us be an unashamed community actively fighting against the lies of the enemy; reminding each other the truth that we are children of God!
-- Bethany Powell