"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
February 21, 2018
I heard it said recently that shame and guilt are not the same thing, although many people make them interchangeable to mean the same. You can dig deep and come up much more complicated definitions, but this is what I heard: "Shame is feeling bad about who you are. Guilt is feeling bad about something you've done." Granted, actions and choices can often cause someone to feel both.
For instance, someone may come from a family that has a poor reputation due to their lifestyle choices, and it makes them feel shame; but they have done nothing that makes them feel guilt. Perhaps they live in a run-down home or have a trashy yard, and they don't want any of their friends to know that that is where they live.
Someone may make a really bad decision or choice that categorizes them as being a specific way, and that label causes them to feel shame in who they are; even though they may have repented and changed their life. They may feel as if everyone sees them as the person who sinned, and so they constantly feel as if they are wearing an invisible scarlet letter around their neck, identifying them according to their offense.
Other times, there may be shame associated with someone, and there was nothing that they did to deserve it, nor anything that they did wrong. It's not fair, but shame is their constant companion.
Here is an example from Luke 8:43-48: "Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, 'Who touched Me?' When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, 'Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'' But Jesus said, 'Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.' Now the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. And He said to her, 'Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.'"
Sorry (but not really sorry), if this particular story and the discussion of it makes you uncomfortable, but let's be grown-ups; plus menstruating for women is a normal, natural part of life and how God designed the female body. In this particular story, it caused a lot of issues for this particular woman, because she had bled constantly for 12 years. I cannot even imagine!
Because of the continual bleeding, in Jewish law, the woman would have been considered to be ceremonial unclean. So this woman lived in a continual state of uncleanness, which would brought upon her social and religious isolation.
I read something regarding this woman that said, "What this poor woman really endured at the hands of the medical men of that time is left to the imagination. What a touch of reality is given to her story by the knowledge that she had suffered many things of many physicians and was no better, but rather grew worse."
I've known women where their monthly period caused them to cramp and be in so much pain that they had to stay in bed for the first day or so. Others have had such heavy bleeding that it caused them to be anemic. Probably almost every woman has suffered embarrassment, probably more than once, due to a period accident; where you were out in public and got blood on your clothes, or leaked through and got blood on a chair or on the seat of your car. Every woman has their stories to tell!
I could never go anywhere special, without starting my period -- ever! If I went on vacation, took a trip, planned to go somewhere special, went to my oldest sisters home (I can't explain that -- but it was fact)..... it was guaranteed that I would start my period; regardless if it was the right time or not. I started the day before my wedding! All I can say about that is, thank God for menopause!!!
This woman lived in a culture that we don't fully understand, due to living in the US. She was considered to be ceremonial unclean; so she would have had to have stayed away from the temple and away from social settings. She must have lived a very lonely life for those twelve years.
She suffered shame, due to who she was; a constantly bleeding woman, who was considered unclean. This was not a circumstance of her own making, but nevertheless, she still experienced shame.
Then Jesus did what many physicians could not do. Where men had failed, Christ succeeded. Instantly, this woman was made whole and the flow of blood stopped, upon touching the hem of Jesus' garment.
Jesus asked who touched Him. The woman came forward and confessed to touching His robe. She told Him all the truth; what she had been suffering with those past twelve years and what had just happened when she had touched Him.
For someone who had encountered alienation and shame all those years, she didn't crawl away or disregard Jesus in fear of rejection; but she fell at His feet and confessed. I believe in that moment that she no longer stigma of being unclean, but was so grateful for her healing that there was no longer any shame. Her public confession wasn't done in embarrassment and humiliation, but was an act of worship in declaring what the Messiah had done for her. She didn't whisper it in His ear or ask to speak to Him in private; she declared in the presence of Jesus and all those surrounding Him within hearing range, what had just happened.
In an instant, all shame was gone! No longer did this woman, who had just spent the past twelve years being ostracized and labeled as being unclean, feel bad about who she was. She was made clean, made new, and was whole.
When she walked down the street, she could hold her head up high and associate with the shop-owners and her neighbors and attend temple. If someone asked, "Oh, are you the woman who is unclean?", she could boldly answer, "That is no longer who I am! I am now a woman who was made whole by Jesus!" She no longer had to fear coming into contact with others or making humiliating visits to the physicians. No more shame!
Many times when Jesus touches a person's life and changes their sinful, unclean heart to one that is completely whole and pure, they still bear the stigma of who they were in the past. They know that they've been made a new creation in Christ, that the old is gone and everything is made new, but it's hard to let go of the shame of who they were.
In fact, many times people will declare that they've been delivered from shame, yet will still experience it off and on; that's not true deliverance. We often perceive seeing an improvement or making progress as a good thing; but the truth is, Jesus desires to set us completely free. Not just a little bit so that we don't feel shame as often as we once did, or we feel better about ourselves than we used to in the past; but He wants to free us so that we feel no more shame -- never, ever again!
Those who suffer shame don't view themselves as their Father sees them. They often feel a lack of self-worth, feel as if they're not good enough or don't deserve God's favor, and don't see their value as a son or daughter of the Most High King. They don't feel as if they deserve God delivering them from their shame; therefore, shame becomes their constant companion. Shame can be exhausting; trying to hide or make excuses or withdrawing or hoping that no one really sees you or draws attention to you.
I'm sure the woman in this story thought that she could lose herself in the crowd surrounding Jesus, reach down and touch the hem of His garment, and sneak off without anyone ever knowing that she was there. After all, if they knew that she was unclean, then they wouldn't want her there in the midst of them. But that's not what happened!
In fact, I wonder if Jesus saw her and knew her embarrassment and perceived her need (He had an earthly mother and sisters, so grew up with women who had periods and knew about the Jewish law of them being considered unclean during their cycles), so He passed by, on purpose, so that she could be made whole. Perhaps He had heard about her from His disciple, Luke, the physician; who may have been an acquaintance of the local doctors. Regardless, she had to have the faith to come to Him and press through the crowd to get to Him. When she did, Jesus felt healing virtue flow out of Him and asked who had touched Him.
We often tend to think, "Jesus knows what I need, so I shouldn't have to tell Him;" and while it is true that He knows what we need, even before we ask, He often chooses to wait until we come to Him, in faith, and reach out to Him before responding.
If you struggle with shame, that doesn't have to be a lifestyle, a life-sentence, or "just how things are" for you. Jesus wants to deliver you and set you free. Not just make you better; but set you completely free from all shame. Ask Him to do so today; then believe that He has done so.
Pray this prayer: "Jesus, I ask that you deliver me from all feelings of shame. Pull out every area where I've experienced shame, by the root, so that it cannot grow back again. I close the door to shame and declare that it cannot ever be reopened again! I believe that I have been set free. No more shame! In Jesus name I ask these things. Amen!"
If Satan dares to bring up any area of shame again, declare, "No! I refuse to allow shame back into my life again. Jesus has set me free, and His Word declares that, 'He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!' Satan, you are a liar and you have no place in me and cannot resurrect shame in me ever again. So I take authority over you and declare that you go, in the name of Jesus, and that you take all shame with you!"
Be free and live with no more shame!
There is also a difference between regret and shame. It's like the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism.
Regret is about knowing you've done something wrong, and desiring never to do it again. It is constructive, and leads to a better future. Without regret, we will happily do the same wrong thing again and again.
Shame is about tearing down, and often keeping down. Shame can break a person.
I don't honestly know how accurate the analogy is, but it fits so nicely, I'll use it anyway. If a potter makes a bad pot, he may have to break it, soak it in water soften it again, and start over. It will be the same clay. And it will be the same end goal. But it can be easier to start over than to keep trying to patch and fix mistakes.
I hope that it is rare that someone should be broken and then rebuilt. But it seems like a dangerously small gap between breaking a person to be rebuilt, and just breaking them, so not an option any mortal should chose for themselves or for someone else.
Make Ahead Muffin Melts
12 whole hard-boiled Eggs, peeled and chopped
2 cups grated Cheddar Cheese
1 cup (real) Mayonnaise
12 slices Bacon, fried and cumbled
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
6 whole English Muffins, split
Peel and chop eggs and combine with all other ingredients. Fold together gently. Cover and store in refrigerator overnight (can be used right away, if desired).
Spread on English muffin halves, then broil for 3-5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (Don't set them too close to the heating element.)
**This mixture also makes a delicious egg salad that you can serve on sliced bread for sandwiches.
Here are some humorous christian posting that I recently saw. Sometimes we just need to lighten up and laugh.... as well as think a bit!
"I wanted to go jogging but Proverbs 28:1 says, 'The wicked run when no one is chasing them,' so there's that....." - unknown
"People are like sheep who have gone astray...we are following each other's butts and hoping there is a shepherd up front. #thinkforyourself" - Kris Vallotton
"What is the purpose of turkey bacon? Turkey bacon is like false prophets -- ain't turkey and it ain't bacon! Wake up people!" - Kris Vallotton
Jesus knows when to calm the storm and when to ride it out with you. - Christine Caine
We love you!
Loretta & Jon