Do you ever feel the shame of your past rising up to torment you? Are there things you wish you could change? Are there times you are in a certain atmosphere and it feels like everyone knows every bad decision you ever made?
Well, guess what… you’re not alone!
Shame is something that most everyone has experienced at some point in our lives, whether there was an embarrassing situation we had no control over, or it could have come from a very poor decision we made. It doesn’t matter if it happened recently or many years ago, it still finds a way to resurface in our memory and we have to live it all over again. However, it doesn’t have to bring us down. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
While we may remember things that make us feel unworthy, it does not mean that we are. We do not have to continue confessing something that God has forgiven us for and carry around the guilt. We must never let shame keep us from boldly approaching the throne of God. We are to have bold assurance that He will hear us and answer us when we call on Him. We must have confidence in the blood of Jesus and the price He paid for us on Calvary’s cross.
On the flip side of things, it is not a totally bad thing to recall instances from the past that can help us with future decisions. Even “bad” experience is experience. Sometimes we learn what not to do and this can be a very effective (and quick) teacher. There are things I’ve said and done over the years that make me cringe when I remember them, but they have proven a valuable lesson in teaching me that I do not want to feel that way again. Consequence can be all the motivation we need sometimes to hold our peace.
Be encouraged today that you are loved beyond measure, and no matter what your past may be, your future is in God’s hands. He wants you to call on Him. If you have been dealing with shame, just bring it to Him and lay it down. If you have asked forgiveness through His Son Jesus, then its all taken care of — no matter what your mind may tell you or your memory may recall. It’s what’s in your heart that truly matters. Our mind can sometimes steal our joy, but our heart is where life is found, and if you have asked Jesus Christ into your heart, you can have abundant, eternal life!
“I pray, “Lord, Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to pay a debt I could never pay. Thank You for loving me that much, and forgiving me when I did not deserve it. Help me to show the same love and forgiveness to others that You have shown to me. I desire to honor and give praise to You in all I do. Help me today as I cast aside the shame that can no longer tear down my confidence in Your love for me, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.