HOPE AND SHAME
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
Hope does not put me to shame. What does that really mean?
David said, “None who wait for you shall be put to shame.” Psalm 23:3 At the time David was writing, he was surrounded by enemies. They had him in a snare. Though he had an opportunity to kill his most formidable enemy, King Saul, he chose to walk away with sword in hand and wait for God to deliver him. He also spoke in the same chapter about the sins of his youth being enemies.
I am surrounded by enemies as well. There are three. 1.) The world is an enemy because it is unfriendly to Christ and to my proclaimed faith. 2.) My flesh is my enemy as I am so prone to sin. Because I know myself much better in my fifties than I did in my twenties, I remember the sins of my youth. I was blind to their destruction and consequences. Sometimes I sinned by intention, other times because I had no insight. My sins and the bent of my flesh are definitely enemies. 3.) Satan is also my greatest enemy. Because He hates God, then he also hates anyone who belongs to God. That means me.
There can be shame in being despised. Have you experienced that? Your authentic self retreats behind some protective wall and a calculated plastic person takes charge. Jesus Christ is the only one who can heal shame. I must be tutored by His Spirit as I meditate on the Word for shame to be replaced with confidence.
How do I meditate? Here are some powerful ways I’ve found to interact with Scripture.
- Before reading a word, I ask God to open my heart and give me spiritual understanding.
- I focus on a short portion of scripture. Meditation is not about quantity, but quality. I meditate best when it involves just a few verses.
- I read a passage over and over, knowing that scripture is multi-layered. Each time I read it, the Spirit of God takes me to deeper understanding.
- I ask God to help me feel what He feels about the passage I’m reading.
- I investigate the stories of the people who wrote the words. What were their circumstances? Knowing that gives me insight into the passage.
My healing from shame takes intentional work on my part. Jesus doesn’t just show up and heal shame without my participation. My education in the scriptures is key and must be love-driven. He loves me and therefore, I learn. And as I do let the power of His Word wash over my shame-sick soul, Jesus slowly lifts my head.
Your healing is not quick but slow and intentional. You want me to understand where shame exists and why it’s there. Your Word is my light, leading me to dark places that need Your grace. I continue to take You by the hand for such a journey as this. Amen