“Instead of your shame you shall have … everlasting joy.” — Isaiah 61:7 (NLT)
“You should be ashamed of yourself”
Guilt and shame are powerful emotions or feelings. They are both toxic and destructive, and only serve to punish and pull you further into a pit of worthlessness and insecurity.
It has been said that: “shame is one of the most negative and debilitating feelings we experience because it combines other emotions. Shame can make a person feel that change is hopeless because the problem is one’s self. This is what makes shame such a toxic emotion.” (Hope to Cope quoted in Rescued.)
Have you heard the words, “you should be ashamed of yourself” spoken to you? Perhaps you have heard it many times over. Perhaps it is part of your inner world, your inner voice, criticising and condemning and running you down, making you feel unworthy and unwanted? Perhaps it’s a constant voice from your past, your childhood, or a past relationship?
Sticks and stones
You’ve heard the phrase: “sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” According to Wikipedia: “The rhyme is used as a defence against name-calling and verbal bullying, intended to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation and to remain calm and good-living.”
Whilst there is some truth in the phrase, there is also an enormous lie. Whilst words cannot physically hurt anyone, the greatest hurt we experience is often not physical. Most of us know the hurt of loss, bereavement; and many of us know the hurt of the betrayal of a loved one or a close friend, the breakdown of relationships and many other life events that cause deep-felt, heartfelt hurt. The anguish, the agony, the angst is deeply felt – and the hurt is often far deeper and longer-lasting than any physical hurt we will ever feel in our life.
Words do hurt. And words often send us on a spiral towards shame – that toxic emotion that makes you feel that the situation is hopeless, that you are hopeless, that you are worthless, that there is no way back, that you are too far gone for any kind of forgiveness.
And the truth is, there are some in the world that will remind you of that, that will reinforce that, and will reassert that to you over and over.
But you are never too far gone for forgiveness
Those that remind you of your wrongdoings, that reinforce that you are not worthy, and reassert that you are beyond redemption – they are reminding, reinforcing and reasserting a lie.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. And if you want a life free from shame and unforgiveness, you can start that life today. Yes, you may have done things in your past that have brought you shame and there are those who will not forgive you – but they don’t have to. Yes, they will continue to throw sticks and stones, and yes, you may stick around to see them being thrown at you. But you can find forgiveness in a new you.
You see, there is One who forgives – unconditionally, unquestioningly, and unfailingly. God knows you inside-out, top to toe and all around. He know all that you have done – and will do, for that matter. But He loves you anyway! There is nothing that you can do to change that – whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, whether you want it or not – He loves you!
And He forgives you. There are no conditions on your forgiveness. You don’t have to jump through any hoops or hurdles, you don’t have to behave in a certain way, do certain things, or anything – He forgives you unconditionally.
There are no questions about your forgiveness. He doesn’t question your actions, your motives, your veracity or your authenticity. He doesn’t have to – He knows you. He forgives you, unquestioningly.
He will never fail you. He keeps all His promises. He never lies to you, He never lets you down, He is completely trustworthy. He forgives you, unfailingly.
All you have to do is ask! “Please, Lord God, forgive me.”
Your debt is paid
There is always a debt to pay. When we do things wrong, there are consequences. One of the consequences is how you feel – ashamed. And one of the consequences is how others react – by criticism and condemnation – sticks and stones. They will be thrown at you.
And there is also a debt to pay to God too. When we do things wrong, God demands a payment for our wrongdoings. But the great things is – your debt has already been paid! God knew that we would all fall short of His expectations – we would all fail – and He decided to send His own Son into the world to pay for our wrongs!
But you might be asking yourself, as I did for many years, “did He really pay for me? Surely, I am too far gone, my wrongs were too much, I couldn’t possibly be forgiven for the things that I did!” I struggled with that question for a long time. Then, one day, God Himself answered! I will never forget that day, that moment, when I heard God’s voice, saying, “I paid for you.” You can read more about that amazing moment in the booklet, Rescued.
You are never too far gone for forgiveness – not matter what you have done. Christ paid for it all. He paid for you. Today is the first day of the rest of your life – a life free from shame and unforgiveness – if you choose. Choose to believe in the God who loves you, rather than those who are throwing sticks and stones at you; choose to believe that Christ died to pay for your wrongs, rather than those who want you to keep paying over and over with a life of shame. Regrets you may always have, but you do not have to live a life shackled with shame. Your debt is paid. Start your new life today.
May we pray: Thank You, heavenly Father God, that You know all about us, all that we have done. Thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to pay the debt for our wrongdoings. Thank You that we no longer have to live a life of shame, and thank You that You forgive us. We ask this in the precious name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus; Amen.
If you’re struggling with feelings or shame or finding forgiveness – please get in touch. Don’t feel as though you have to battle alone – your debt has been paid, and with Jesus in your life you can stand free of shame and “everlasting joy will be yours.” May God Bless You.
Have you had your copy of ‘DARE to Hope!’ yet? You can download it here.