Shame Off You [Part 1]


Are you ready for some good news?

Though the whole world might be quick to say, “Shame On You,” and “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” in Christ, God has something entirely different to say. The message of the Gospel is: shame OFF you!

Today’s Text: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25, ESV)

Years ago, I preached a series on the power of grace to heal our shame. It eventually became the book, Free Yourself, Be Yourself. We try to air this series on the radio every year.  And we continue to air the originally preached messages because God did something very special with them. We start today by defining shame.

There’s only one thing we are told in the scripture about a relationship in Paradise. God only gives us one, essential attribute of a marriage in a world with no sin: they had no shame.

Shame is essentially a lie – a subtle, deep deception that says: As you are now, you don’t measure up. So you need to figure out what’s wrong with you and improve if you are ever going to be loved and accepted.

It’s true that we are flawed. Indeed, we were all born in sin.

What’s untrue is that we unloved because we are flawed. The truth is, God’s love is set upon you not because you measure up, but because He made you and you belong to Him.

When parents, teachers, coaches and peers withhold their acceptance and affection when we aren’t measuring up in their eyes it tortures our souls. We are made for love and acceptance. When it is withheld, we’ll do almost anything to attain it.

At one level, shame works. We’ll run faster, jump higher and try harder to please others in our efforts to gain acceptance and love. But God didn’t design us to try hard for fear of being rejected. God designed us to try hard because of the certainty of our acceptance. The gospel message runs completely contrary to the tactics of the world. Instead of waiting until you measure up, God accepts you in Christ. Because Christ measured up, you are fully, forever accepted.

It’s hard to make it more than an hour into the day before someone honks their horn and curses you on the highway or rolls their eyes in disgust or withholds their affirmation at the office. But today, and every day, you can hear the assurance of the Lord: you are already beloved. So shame OFF you! And that’s the Gospel!

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