ENDURING THE SHAME
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
It’s not easy to stand alone. Shame is a powerful weapon. Perhaps you are the only Christian in your entire family. The ridicule you have to endure because you believe God’s Word is cruel, even crushing, at times.
I am writing this today to some Christian leaders who are fighting for truth in the midst of their own lukewarm congregations. Committee meetings get overheated quickly in Laodicean churches as truth becomes relative and the sword gets dull. The one who threatens the status quo is publicly lynched.
If I have a history of suffering from other kinds of shame, shame for the Gospel can feel like a trigger that I try to avoid at all costs. Though this shame is not the same, Satan would have me believe that it is because of symptomatic familiarity. I must wake up and declare that, this time, it’s different. This is the hour I must not recant.
How do I sustain the shame others inflict? I set out to see how Jesus endured shaming. Mentally, what was his focus and shield? I find His answer in Hebrews 12:2. “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
There was nothing more shaming than the cross. His whole world (except for the few standing at the foot of his cross) turned against Him. While in agony, He heard taunting, even from royalty. Yet their words did not erode His mission, His trust, and His theology. He focused on the ‘joy set before Him.’
Setting my affections entirely on the kingdom and my future life with Christ is hard work. Yet, it is critical for me if I am to have the strength to plant my feet in truth and do it lovingly in the face of my accusers. Being spit upon, repeatedly, without reacting with a sneer will only be possible as I think of kneeling at the feet of Jesus and hearing, “Well done, my child.” I remember that, one long day, He was on a cross. On a day shortly thereafter, He returned to sit at the right hand of His Father. Shame is temporary. Glory is eternal.
I follow You; You are Truth. I follow You; I remember that You put all accusers into the hands of your Father, whom You knew judged righteously. I, also, do not take revenge but bear their reproach patiently. In Jesus’ name, Amen