ODJ: Free from Shame

March 9, 2018 

READ: Genesis 3:1-13 

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness (v.7).

After a failure, shame can cling to us like the smell of rancid rubbish. Perhaps at the end of the day we look back at what happened and hang our heads with regret. That conversation with a friend when we talked too much about ourselves. That underhanded dig. That time we lost our temper with someone we were supposed to be caring for. We’ve done wrong, and we’re ashamed.

The story of sin and shame goes all the way back to our first parents’ disobedience to God. The serpent wooed Eve with his deceit, planting in her mind doubts about God’s goodness (Genesis 3:1,5). He kept needling and tempting her until she acquiesced. She and her husband ate the forbidden fruit, and as their eyes were “opened”, shame entered our world. Suddenly feeling exposed by their nakedness, they covered themselves with fig leaves and tried to hide from God (vv.6-8).

The scene was set for division, strife and separation from God. But even when His people turn away from Him, God is gracious. After Adam and Eve’s disobedience, He clothed their shame (v.21). Later, He sent His prophets with a message of love and forgiveness, until finally He sent His Son—to live as a human and die for our sins. When we receive His gift of salvation, Jesus’ death wipes away our sin and shame (Ephesians 1:7). No longer do we need to be bound by shame, for we are new creations, clothed with Christ (see Galatians 3:27).

When we’ve done wrong, we can run to Him for healing (see 1 John 1:9). Then, with the Spirit’s help we can seek to make amends—asking those we’ve harmed to forgive us and extending forgiveness to those who’ve hurt us. And we can share with others the good news that in Christ there is freedom from shame.

—Amy Boucher Pye

365-day plan: Judges 7:1-25

Read 1 John 1:8-9 to see not only the reality of our situation—our sinfulness—but also the promise of being washed clean. 
What shame do you continue to feel? How does God view your shame if you’ve turned to Him and confessed your sins? How can you help others heal from shame?