Turning Shame into Honor

Matthew 27

Matthew 27 29b-31

After Jesus had been sentenced, flogged and mocked, He was hung up on a cross with a sign hanging over His head, reading, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” This sign was another attempt to show contempt for Jesus. The sign mocks His name and labels him a heretical blasphemer. Yet in this attempt at mockery, there was truth. Jesus will return as King of the Jews and all those who followed Him. God took the shame that the Jews who crucified Jesus tried to cast upon Him and turned it into Honor for Jesus.

God constantly takes our shame and turns it into honor. In our current society, it is common to be called names for living a righteous and biblical lifestyle. Many will call you a prude, a goody two shoes, a tryhard. Their goal is to tear you down in the eyes of the world, to paint you as one who sits on an imaginary throne of righteous living and looks down on the world to condescend. This mockery is your honor. It is a testament to the effort that you put in to live as you have been called. Continue to wear your breastplate of righteousness and endure the mockery, and have your shamed turned into your honor.

-Nathaniel Johnson

United in Hope

john 3 17

I remember learning in a college psychology class that the two emotions most commonly selected by people meeting the criteria for clinical depression are guilt and shame. I saw the list that was given out in the assessment, and it included lots of others that I thought might have topped the list. Ones like grief, anger, fear, sadness, despondence, loneliness, rejection, etc. But, the two that were the most common consistently were guilt and shame. At the time I was a little surprised by that just because there were so many choices and they all seemed so “depressing”, but as the years go by, I am more surprised that I was surprised.

That is because guilt and shame are crippling and powerful negative emotions that we all experience. In definition, guilt and shame are a bit separated in the sense that guilt refers to the feeling associated with our behavior while shame is associated with a negative feeling of ourselves. Sin causes both. Because we all sin, we all experience the devastation of both emotions. And in a world where we find ourselves with divisions of race, socioeconomic class, culture, language,  and background. . . let it be known. . .we all experience guilt and shame because we are all guilty and shameful. If there is one thing uniting us all, it is that we are all intrinsically unworthy desperately in need of a savior. There aren’t those who are “really guilty” and those who are a “little guilty”. And even if that were the case, I think I’d want to be the former because in human reasoning, that is where the “man after God’s own heart” falls, and I believe those who recognize their unworthiness also recognize their need for God more. The human race is made up of innately sinful people completely unrighteous and unworthy constantly falling short of our perfect sovereign God.

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10, NIV)

“The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:2-3)

But, long before our existence God knew this and had an eternal plan. A plan to send a savior, His begotten son, Jesus.  So, while we experience that guilt and shame, we are also able to experience mercy, forgiveness, and hope. His desire is not to condemn us because of our guilt, but to save us from it. We feel shame because we don’t deserve that love and favor, but despite how we feel about it, it is there for the taking. Always. Again and again.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”  (John 3:17, NIV)

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9, NIV)

Just as we are united in the sense that we all sin and experience guilt and shame, we are also able to share forgiveness and hope together. We all have the opportunity to be forgiven by God, but not so we can “feel better”. . . so we can glorify Him. One of the most beautiful ways to do that is to forgive others. Who doesn’t love the story of the Prodigal Son? So, may we seek to live with the mercy of the father and not with the bitterness and pride of the brother. The inheritance that matters is our shared one. And part of loving our giver is sharing the gift with others.  It is worth returning for. It is worth staying for. It is worth learning about. And it alone is the lasting source of hope.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21: 1-4, NASV)

 

–Jennifer Hall

How Do You Handle Things?

Jeremiah 9-11

jeremiah-9_24

Wednesday, March 1

Chapter 9 is moping about how things are. Jeremiah 9:12 And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined, laid waste like a desert, so that no one passes through?

Chapter 10 is about recognition that they were wrong. Jeremiah 10:23 

Chapter 11 How do you handle being wrong? What do you do when you hurt someone?  This chapter is about their covenant being broken and the plot to hurt Jeremiah.

The question for these chapters should be how do you handle things?

For many its lying, anger, resentment and shame.  But God has been very clear in spite of how we act, He will not break His covenant.  How you handle that is the real question.

-Andy Cisneros

The Choice is Yours: Honor or Shame (I Samuel 25-27)

Sunday, October 16

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By Nathaniel Johnson

When we read the story of Abigail and Nabal, it should be obvious that Abigail is our good example and Nabal is our bad example. Nabal’s first mistake was insulting David. When he said “Who is this David,” he didn’t mean that he didn’t know who David was. After all, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). Of course Nabal knew who David was, but he chose to be rude and disregard the help that David had given him throughout his life. Nabal’s second mistake was his greed. Even though he owned thousands of animals, he couldn’t spare any food out of his wealth for David’s men.

Abigail on the other hand, dealt with the situation that her husband created with wisdom. Abigail goes through a series of five steps that we all should follow to act with wisdom. First, she recognized that David was a holy man, a man of God (Proverbs 9:10). Then she took steps to avoid bloodshed (Proverbs 14:16). That is, she gathered food for David’s men. When she set out to find David, she didn’t tell her husband Nabal. She decided to keep the matter quiet until it was resolved (Proverbs 29:11). Once she got to David, she offered her gift and held nothing back (Proverbs 10:5). After she had taken all of these wise actions, she was rewarded by David and was taken in as his wife. “The wise shall inherit honor, but fools he holds up to shame” (Proverbs 3:35). If we act with the same wisdom as Abigail, we too will receive honor. But if we act rash, rude and selfish, we will get nothing but shame.

(Our writer this week is Nathaniel Johnson.  Thank you to Nathaniel and to Kayla Tullis who introduces Nathaniel for us.  Kayla writes: “Nathaniel Johnson, a 20-year-old born and raised in Minnesota, is currently a student at St. Scholastica with the ambition of one day teaching mathematics. Nathaniel has been a member of Pine Grove Bible Church for years. You may recognize him during worship services playing the bass guitar. He enjoys the outdoors, Nordic skiing, anime and much more. Nathaniel has a heart for God and is looking forward to growing with you each day through the FUEL devotions.”)