[Jesus], the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2
A guy I meet with shared with me this week how frustrated he was that he and his wife had another bad argument last week. He said they were out drinking with friends when something sparked an argument between them and it quickly escalated.
Since this wasn’t the first story like this he’d shared with me, I asked if he saw a connection between alcohol and the arguments between them. He acknowledged it, but also said he had to drink when they go out because his friends make too much fun of him and shame him when he says he’s not going to drink. According to him, his friends “force” him to drink.
(SIDE NOTE: Now, before we roll our eyes or laugh at that statement, what things do we do simply to please man at the expense of pleasing God? I think the fear of man “forces” us to do far more in our lives than we readily admit.)
I asked him if he knew what it meant to be a slave to shame. He didn’t, so I bluntly said that he was a slave to shame. The fear of shame from his friends dictates his actions. When he says he’s not going to drink, his friends shame him and he gives in. He’s a slave to shame.
Shame has been connected to sin ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden. In their shame, they tried to cover their nakedness and hide from God. In our shame, we live to please ourselves or others instead of God. We value other opinions above God’s truth. But the good news of the gospel is that the mocking and shame Jesus endured both prior to and on the cross, He endured and despised for us in our place. He broke the power of shame for us. We now have the wonderful promise that “everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)
Oh, we will still be made fun of, mocked, or tempted to please man. But when we place our lives in Christ’s hands, shame should no longer control and dictate our actions. We’re free from the power of shame. We’re free to live to please God instead of living to please people.