Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Shame. In our culture, how often have we heard the words “you should be ashamed of yourself.” It comes from everywhere – in commercials, from the pulpit, in our own heads. Just as Adam & Eve where ashamed when they discovered they were naked and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, so too do we, as humans, put on shame like a blanket. We feel our imperfections are to be humiliations rather than lessons to learn, that we should be punished instead of forgiven. This may be the human mind, but it is not the mind of God.
The Oxford dictionary defines shame as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Now, to be conscious of our wrong and foolish behavior is not a bad thing. God wants that for us, for these behaviors cause barriers in our relationship with God and with others. But, God has no need, nor desire, for us to feel humiliated, to feel less than who we are. We are children of God. Created in love, for love, by love. Love does not have room for humiliation. Rather, Love is the healing force that will help us transform our imperfections so we may be living proof of the insurmountable love and redemption of God in this world.
God will ALWAYS deal with us in kindness and mercy. God will ALWAYS love us and forgive us. God will ALWAYS desire for us to live in grace, in hope and in confidence of the unconditional love that is our birthright, given to all by our Creator. Perhaps for today, we can let go of the feeling of shame and spend our energy focusing on the grace that is so freely given to us. A grace that will transform our imperfections, bring us to a more intimate relationship with God, and enable us to be living examples of God’s bountiful love and redemption in the world!