How To Be Freed From Shame
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
The Bible is full of people whose crimes made them guilty under God’s laws and most human laws, too. Moses murdered a man, King David sexually exploited a woman, and the Apostle Paul oversaw the persecution of minorities. Yet they sought and received forgiveness. God’s forgiveness toward each of these men didn’t undo their guilt. Instead, Jesus transferred the ultimate consequences of their guilt onto Himself so that they could be released from shame.
Jesus bore the consequences of guilt not just for Moses, David, and Paul, but for you and me, too. This gift doesn’t mean we are guiltless of our own sins, but it does mean we are rescued from shame. Jesus took punishment upon Himself through death so that we don’t have to suffer forever.
Have you noticed that forgiving other people is a miniature version of the same story? In the process of forgiveness, the focus is taken off of our own indignation at being wronged. Hopefully, it refocuses us on Jesus’ love for us and His forgiveness for people who’ve hurt us, too. When Paul grasped this, he wrote to his friends, the Ephesians, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Shame is what tries to convince us that forgiveness won’t work on us. But that’s a lie – God says that there is no condemnation for those set free by Jesus and when we confess our guilt, Jesus is faithful in forgiving us completely (1 John 1:9).
Resource reading: Romans 8:1-4