“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
One of my favorite phrases about what Christ has done for us is “despising the shame.” Death on a Roman cross was the epitome of shame. A naked man publicly put to death on a stick of wood. Its cruelty and shame would have us turn away in horror. But instead of turning away, we are called to “fix our eyes” on our dying Savior. And when we do, we see the suffering Son of God rejecting the shame put upon Him.
Jesus did not accept the shame of a cruel death on a cross. Jesus did not embrace or believe the shame. Jesus refused the shame. What Satan meant for shame, God turned into glory; the glory of the Lamb of God “enduring the cross” for the “joy set before Him” of bringing us to salvation. Jesus rejected the shame. Jesus despised the shame. Jesus threw aside the chain of shame.
Can I encourage you to do the same? The power of the cross is available to us to take away our shame.
How many of us carry labels from today or our past meant to induce shame? Perhaps a parent expressed a constant disappointment in you; an incessant drumbeat of you are not good enough. Maybe an employer or teacher in your teen-age years told you that you would never amount to anything. Or an unwise spiritual leader in your life called you out as a stubborn child, a slow learner, or disobedient.
Whatever the shame you carry from your past or present; reject it, destroy it, send it packing, do not accept the shame. But what about those times we were stubborn, disobedient, or hurtful to those closest to us? Do we accept responsibility for our sin, for the ways we have harmed others? Yes, and living in Christian community involves admitting our sin and forgiving each other. When we sin, we have done something wrong. This is a true statement. And we need to resolve the harm caused to our brothers and sisters when we sin. The “wrong” is about our actions, not our identity.
Shame attacks your identity. Shame proclaims, “You are something wrong!” Jesus says just the opposite. You are deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world should be saved through Him.” (John 3:17). Christ did not come to condemn you for your sin. He came to free you from your sin! Christ walked through that shameful death on the cross for the purpose of redeeming you back to God’s presence. Let the power of the cross set you free from the chains of shame.