Today’s Bible reading is Psalm 83.
Shame. We all know what it feels like–that painful awareness that rises in our God-given consciences after a dishonorable action, improper statement, or foolish step.
“That was wrong.” “I knew better.” “I can’t believe I said that.” “I’m so embarrassed.” “I would do anything to take that back.”
But here’s the question: in what direction does shame drive you? Those steps you’re taking in the fog of shame–where are they leading you? How are you processing or coping with your God-given capacity to feel the heavy cloak of shame?
For some, it’s self-loathing. For others, denial. Some toss out all inhibitions and dive head-first into even deeper danger. Others try to completely shut down emotionally and hide in the shadows of spiritual numbness. Some look to drown the shame with alcohol, drugs, sex, or a new shipment from Amazon. Others fantasize about revenge … and the shame doesn’t evaporate.
Psalm 83 offers an alternative–not even an alternative, but an answer–the answer. As Asaph laments the uproar caused by Israel’s enemies, he prays:
Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O LORD. (Psa 83:16)
Faces filled with shame, so that they will seek the God who is.
…that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the LORD,
are the Most High over all the earth. (Psa 83:18)
And on this side of the cross of Christ, when we come shame-filled-face to perfectly-holy-face with him, what do we find?
The Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom 10:11-13)
Shame. You know what it feels like, but in what direction is it driving you? The Father of lies offers mirages and enslavement. The Author of life offers forgiveness and hope.
It’s simply a question of what we will seek in the wake of our shame.