The devil has a growling dog he likes to set on people. It growls, bites and hurts a lot of people. It does a lot of damage and leaves many people quivering in fear. His dog is called Shame.
At the beginning of the Bible we read that humans were free from shame.
‘The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’
This doesn’t mean they were arrogant – ‘they felt no shame.’ It means they lived in a wonderful relationship with God. They had no secrets before him. They walked before him with nothing hidden and were free from shame because he loved them as his own children.
In the next part of the story, we are introduced to the talking snake character. He secretly plots against God and temps the humans into a life long addiction of independence from their Creator.
Soon they are filled with the feeling of shame. They hide from God and start to wear clothing – a symbol of hiding their real selves from God. And this feeling of guilt and shame dogs the human race to this day.
Jesus was free from shame and he went about setting people free. So addicted to shame and shaming others, the humans drag a woman caught in adultery before Jesus. (John 8) Quite where the man involved was, we are not told. They urge Jesus to name and shame the woman. They want him to signal her guilt so they can stone her and, more importantly, make Jesus look as judgemental as they were.
Jesus, in effect, holds up a mirror and shows them their own lives. So filled with shame themselves they begin to disperse. The woman is not condemned and Jesus doesn’t condemn or shame her. His gentle rebuke to ‘sin no more’ is not intended to shame her but to suggest a more positive lifestyle, free from guilt and shame.
Sometimes people with chronic illness begin to believe that it is their fault – that they must have done something so wrong that God has cursed them with pain and sickness. Shame then undermines and mocks God’s love for his creation. But God didn’t send sickness.
The devil’s dog shames us through addictions, secret behaviour, and self-destructive actions. It comes to rob our self-esteem. Shame devalues us. It is a lie of the devil. Today you can stop believing the lie.
When we engage in a walk with Jesus we can become free from guilt and shame. He can begin to change our behaviour, our lifestyle, or whatever is the root of our feeling of shame.
‘Anyone who trusts in [Jesus] will never be put to shame.’
The Bible points to a Saviour who came and took the full force of the dog of shame. He allowed it to attack him so that we could be free from its effects.
‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’
Today you are welcome to walk with God, free from shame. It’s time to renew our mind so that we can live free in the love he has for us. We can come to him just as we are without fear of being condemned. And in our friendship with Jesus we will be transformed to reach our full potential in life. And the blessing will overflow into the lives of others, setting them free also.
‘… be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’