You will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting. Is. 45:17
Shame is a secret wound that many of us carry, sometimes without knowing it until an ugly moment of truth rips away the bandage. Thoughts of anything from a less-than-perfect grade to a history of abuse can send shame pile-driving into your soul. Shame can feel like a ton of concrete just landed on your shoulders – or lodged in your gut. The open exposure of our disgrace drives us into hiding, either literally or figuratively, just as it did our first parents in Eden. For David in Psalm 25, shame was the consequence of being defeated by his enemies before a watching world.
The Bible speaks about guilt and also about shame. Unfortunately, we often use the terms interchangeably. Psychologists define guilt as the feeling that “I have done something bad,” while shame is the feeling that “I am bad.” Shame afflicts its victims even after they have repented and even where no repentance is warranted. David wasn’t a stranger to either guilt or shame. Psalm 51, for example, is David’s admission of guilt after committing adultery and murder. God used his feelings of guilt to drive him to repentance and a restored relationship. On the other hand, in Psalm 25, verse 2, David describes shame as a weapon that God’s enemies use against God’s children. This song celebrates the wisdom of God which teaches us how to avoid legitimate guilt through obedience and the grace of God which removes our sins so completely, it is as if He could not remember them. It also describes a right relationship with God as the only sure refuge from shame.
God sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ and seated with Him in heaven (Eph. 2:6) because that’s our truest nature. The human heart of darkness which deserves real shame has been replaced by a loving heart of flesh − at the cost of God’s own flesh. It has already been accomplished for us. Even though we will spend a lifetime shedding the old nature and growing into our new one, we don’t need to define ourselves by the part of us which is dying. What we have done can never change who we are in Christ. We need never again be ashamed before God, and shame before man is nothing but idolatry.
Shame has no power over those who trust God. That is the message of Psalm 25, and that is the message of the cross. The next time a load of shame lands on your soul, cry out to God as David does. You cannot be put to shame if you take refuge in Him.
- Is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross enough to cover your sins? Is His righteousness enough to clothe you in beauty?
- What makes you feel ashamed before men? Read Col. 1:21-23. Is man’s opinion of you truer or more important than God’s?