You ask anyone to describe their worst nightmare and it involves shame somehow—from being naked in front of a group, to being frozen, to running from an enemy, some nightmares even involve yourself doing something shameful. Our greatest fear is shame. Our greatest problem is shame.
Some people seem to live shamelessly. They dress and act in ways that they know the society in which they live will disapprove. It appears they enjoy shame. However, that is not the case. They secretly believe that it is the ones who look on them in shame who are shamed in their minds. They deflect shame on others.
The only answer to shame is Jesus Christ. He alone frees us from shame. 1 John 2:28 says:
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”
Confident and unashamed are the results of living out the new life that faith in Christ has formed in you.
The fuller I become in Christ the less susceptible I am to the reality of shame. Shame first penetrated our world after Adam ate of the fruit, and both of his and Eve’s eyes were opened (Genesis 3:7). And it didn’t stop its destructive tsunami. Their shame nearly cut them off from the only remedy for their shame. Their first instinct was to hide their shame from the eyes of each other and their second action in verse 8 was to hide from God.
Hiding is our natural instinct when faced with our shame. Ultimately, we in ourselves have no answer for shame. Shame says that who we are is bad. Guilt says what we have done is bad. Our shame drives us to despair. We loath our existence in our shame.
The remedy for shame is Jesus Christ. He asks us to agree with Him that our sin has separated us from a holy God. We admit our sin and believe that Jesus’ death on the cross gave us the power to be reconciled to God. We lay down our impossible task of overcoming our shame and we accept Jesus’ miracle process of making saints out of sinners. It’s not very comfortable at first. We are so dedicated to our shame that it is hard to give up. It’s not easy to live fully free from our shame. We resist it for a long time before we learn to live in it.
One way to gradually live confidently and unashamed is to keep walking with Jesus. How do you walk with Jesus? After accepting Him as your Savior, ask Him to be a part of your everyday life. Invite Him to give you wisdom, strength and direction for the tasks that you face each day. Learn what He asks of you by reading His Word. Understand that it is your false self that clings to shame. Embrace the truth about you that you are a dearly beloved child of God. Long for the promised life of living with Jesus face to face.
This world is guaranteed to dole out shame in large doses and small. Recognize the shame for what it is. See it as a part of a broken and fallen world. Grieve a little; it hurts to be aware of shame. Know that continuing in Jesus Christ—going beyond salvation, moving towards living more and more like Him—will free you of shame and make you confident until His appearing. There is no better way to live in a fallen world.