While guilt and shame are typically secondary to some other sinful behavior, [think sexual immorality for instance], they are the heavyweights of sin.
In the gospel of Luke chapter 7, we learn of a “sinful woman” whom Jesus encounters while having dinner with a Pharisee. Take a moment and read verses 36-50 below.
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Shame, the Oppressor of Sin
Shame is not only a heavy-weight, but the oppressor of sin. It has plagued humans since Adam and Eve came to the realization that they were naked after partaking of the forbidden fruit. Their guilt and shame caused them to hide from God in spite of their new found vulnerability to Satan.
Covering Up Our Guilt and Shame
Like Adam and Eve, we too try to hide our failures. Even going so far as to consult our oh-so-crafty fleshly side for ways to conceal any shred of evidence. With our pride in the driver’s seat, we’ll be sure to camouflage it, bury it, and mask its scent, so if anyone does happen to find out, it won’t look nor smell nearly as bad. Then we lock it away in our psyche somewhere and swallow the proverbial key. Sound familiar?
This is just what the enemy wants you to do! He is a liar, a thief, and an assassin! He’s so cunning, he gets you to choose your own downfall! If he can create the desire in you, deceive you into moral failure (sin), and then exploit your weaknesses, he knows your pride will kick in and seal the deal. Voila! A perfect recipe for shame and condemnation – You’ll even get a consolation prize – Your very own baggage.
Throw Off the Carry-On
What are you to do if you’re in hiding or the weight of your carry-on is just too much? Throw it off and give it to God. In the flesh, we are no match for Satan’s power. You have to fight in the spirit. What does that mean? It means if you are a believer, Satan has no authority over you.
Authority = the right to use a power that you possess. Therefore, Satan’s power is only effective if you give him the authority to use it! But that’s exactly what you’re doing when you bear your own baggage. Stand firm in the strength of Christ, because you’re not fighting for victory, you’re fighting from victory!
Freedom from Guilt and Shame
Friends, if you’re hiding from God and bearing the weight of old baggage, you need to step out of your hiding place, unpack those bags, seek forgiveness and TAKE YOUR POWER BACK! Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection canceled your debt! No matter the depth of your shame, His grace is sufficient for us in all our weaknesses. You’re no exception.
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Grace and Peace,