Shame

God took the shame on us and placed the “shame on Christ” as He hung on the cross.

1 Peter 2:24

Beth Steffaniak of Messy Marriage wrote a blog post that moved me a lot, called Shame On You?!. It was a very positive and welcoming post. At the same time it asked direct questions of the reader. I wanted to answer those questions.

It must have moved me a lot because I still haven’t answered all these months later!

Dear shame-filled friend, remember …

He paid the price for your sins — the ones you somehow feel separate you from God and others.

  • So why do you continue to pay for that debt?
  • Why do you believe that your sin is stronger than Christ’s grace?
  • Why do you reject the powerful and life-transforming miracle that God has already done on the cross for you?
  • Why do you think people cannot accept that Christ’s sacrifice covers their biggest regrets and darkest sins?
  • How can I pray for you, if this is an area where you’ve struggled?

The shame and frustration I feel is for bad habits, some of which I throw off from time to time. I watch a lot of porn; I have a fetish for wearing ladies lingerie. What angers me most now is a more mundane but probably morally worse habit of eyeing up women.

Almost every woman I see, before I can think my eyes have done a full scan. Often I tell myself not to, and it’s as if my body has a mind of its own. It’s a horrible feeling of being out of control. Then look in the woman’s eyes if she notices — scorn, disappointment — also horrible.

I want to be rid of this horrible, contaminating habit. Demon if you like.

Is this shame and frustration a rejection of Christ’s love and forgiveness and grace? That’s a powerful way of putting it. Upsetting. Although I can understand the idea. If it is, then I think I don’t know how properly to welcome that love and forgiveness and grace into my life. Can I just carry on ogling women, happy in the knowledge that I am forgiven? That doesn’t feel right either.

Sometimes it goes much better: I much prefer the friendly smiles, and the company, and the conversation, when this habit hasn’t grabbed me. And if a lady walks past and I manage not to drool after her, I get a tiny pleasurable feeling of self-control.

  • Why do you continue to pay for that debt? The sin is still here, making my life horrible.
  • Why do you believe that your sin is stronger than Christ’s grace? I don’t know how to lift the sin from me, or have it lifted from me. Christ’s grace hasn’t taken it away.
  • Why do you reject the powerful and life-transforming miracle that God has already done on the cross for you? I don’t want to reject it. It seems to be with me when I pray. I want it to be with me always. Possibly I don’t know how to love God enough or how to welcome Him into my life enough.
  • How can I pray for you, if this is an area where you’ve struggled? This is possibly the hardest challenge of all. How can I ask someone to pray for me?
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2 Comments

  1. Beth asks some hard questions. I appreciate how you answer them so honestly. I don’t think there are any easy answers, at least not if we consider them at any depth.

    We all have sins in our lives that we struggle with over and over, and our inability to conquer them brings shame and frustration, like you say. But even in those unconquered areas, I know grace wins–whether we feel it or not. Or understand it or not. Who can understand how it all works anyway? I can’t. I just ask for more faith in Jesus that he continually washes me clean.

    I also ask God to eradicate those stubborn sins, and I can’t explain why he doesn’t when it would benefit his cause as well, but for whatever reason, I know that he’s still with me as I struggle.

    It sounds like you do see progress, even if intermittently, in your weak spots. Celebrate those. And even though you don’t know how you can ask someone to pray for you, I pray for you anyway. I may not know specifically what to ask the Father for on your behalf, but I know the Spirit knows. He promises to intercede when our own words fail.

    Reply
    • Dear Lisa

      Thank you very much for your comment! Thank you for your support and encouragement.

      I like the idea that when I take a step towards Jesus, He takes two steps towards me. However many times I fall, he will always catch me. I need to dwell more on my successes than my failures.

      Thank you for your prayers. That is very humbling.

      David

      Reply

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