This past weekend, I taught from Luke 19:1-10 describing Jesus’ encounter with the chief tax collector, Zaccheus. My main point was that Jesus pursued “Zach” who was isolated in his shame. Shame is the pain of feeling “not enough”, disconnected, and unworthy of love and belonging. It goes against the fundamental desire we have to be connected and loved.
As I’ve been reflecting on the sermon, I’m realizing that there is so much subtle shame in my life – places where I feel like I’m not enough, I’m beginning to understand the ways I compensate, numb it, act out, or blame someone in order to avoid to remove shame.
I bet you’re expecting me to say that Jesus lifts our shame – end of story. But in thinking about it more, I realize that Jesus doesn’t remove our shame, he gives us the truth to fight it – on a daily, even hourly, basis. If shame is about being unworthy of love, the Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that we are worthy of love, and not by some mere positive thinking. God demonstrates his love for us in that even though we live in a broken way that should make us unworthy of love, because we are created in his image, he loves us. He does so by taking the deserved consequences of our brokenness and fallenness upon himself and giving to us HIS worthiness. We are loved by God at great cost to himself. That’s the “secret sauce” to becoming more shame resilient – to remember that the Savior of the world pursued us under the desk and still does so today.
I have a dear friend, Aubrey Sampson, who wrote a great book on how Christ helps us overcome our shame. Unsurprisingly, it’s called “Overcomer”. I asked for her permission to post a “Truth Chart” from her book here. (A “truth chart” is a table that summarizes a wide range of circumstances and how the gospel is the antidote.) You can buy Aubrey’s book on Amazon.
Be resilient, friend. Jesus pursues you!
Download the PDF version If Shame Says..