Subtle is often mistaken as powerless; however, this subtle killer is powerful, as it has the ability to impose mass destruction like a nuclear bomb to the Twin Towers. Except these twin towers often seem more like the enemy’s playground: the human spirit and soul. When given power, both knowingly and unknowingly, this killer will drain the very life out of one’s soul without notice.
Shame is the most lethal weapon of the mind, as it has the ability to torture the functionality of the brain like one suffering from doses of anxiety. It attacks on its own timing and it is nearly uncontrollable. Shame in its subtlety, oftentimes affects us in nearly undetectable ways, oftentimes so hidden until you’re facing the barrel of a Beretta 9000, hiding behind a tree like Adam and Eve.
The power of shame becomes most evident once it’s created a culprit or a corpse out of the living. None is immune to shame, as its presence will always be present, like a lingering shadow, waiting for acknowledgment.
But — what’s so powerful about our Jesus was His ability to acknowledge shame, without yielding to it. Let me break that down some. While Jesus was hanging on that cross, His persecutors were sure that death was His destiny, so they used the words of their mouths to cast stones of shame upon the Son of God. Though we may not know every factual detail of the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, it is believed by a multitude of theologians that Jesus was borderline unconscious; however, He indeed still had partial, if not complete hearing.
SHAME DOESN’T GET TO REDEFINE THAT WHICH THE CREATOR HAS ALREADY DEFINED
Had Jesus been deaf or suffered from any hearing loss during His crucifixion, it is quite evident that He would not have so meticulously and intentionally uttered the words in which He did. Jesus’s last few words were nothing short of an acknowledgment of the attempted shame cast upon His life. As Jesus looked down from the cross, the mass chaos alone would have driven any human being into instant shambles.
The Roman soldiers were gambling for His clothes (John 19:23-24); the criminals on the crosses to both sides of Him were condemning Him (Mathew 27:44); the religious leaders were mocking Him (Matthew 27:41-43); and the crowd was blaspheming Him (Matthew 27:39). In the midst of all the confusion and chaos, Jesus did what most humans do not have the capability in and of themselves to do in a moment of such cruel intensity. Jesus acknowledged pain and shame, yet simultaneously denied it by speaking words that will forever stream into the depths of humanity, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
As the words of His transgressors pierced deeper than the Roman soldiers’ swords, Jesus still acknowledged shame all around Him, yet chose not to yield to it, as His final words sprung forth rivers of living water upon dry and desolate land. Jesus spoke words of mercy and love in the midst of cruelty and hatred. Jesus spoke words of honor and praise in the midst of shame. Jesus spoke words of life in the midst of death. Jesus, in one single moment, showed all of humanity that shame is powerful, but only has power when permitted.
Because of Christ’s ability to acknowledge shame without yielding to it, shame was unable to label Jesus. And if we dare to approach shame with the same audacity and boldness Jesus had while hanging on that cross, then shame will not and cannot label us either. But we have to speak to it!
The next time you feel the presence of shame (because you will), do not back down. Let me repeat that again. The next time you feel the presence of shame DO. NOT. BACK. DOWN. Shame will come and try to cripple you by way of intimidation but when it does, remind shame that Christ already came. And when Christ came, He not only crushed shame, but also equipped you with power and authority (Luke 10:19) to continually crush shame. USE THAT AUTHORITY AND SPEAK BOLDLY IN THE FACE OF SHAME!
Acknowledge the schemes of the enemy, look shame square in the eye, and speak words of life. Remind shame of its powerlessness compared to the power of Christ within you. Shame doesn’t get to redefine that which the Creator already defined. You are a child of The King and nothing can change that status. Not what you’ve done. Not where you’ve been. Not what you’ve seen. Not the sins you’ve committed or even the sins you will commit. If angels and demons cannot separate you from the love of Christ, then neither can shame. Believe that today! Amen!
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)