Trapped by Shame? Jesus Has a Way Out.

By Chip Ingram

Most of us have something in our past that we’re ashamed of. Something that was done to us or something that we did that we don’t want anyone to know about.

That one-night-stand that no one knows about. That meth habit, that cocaine in the past, the lying on the résumé that we hope no one goes and checks. We have all got something back in our past that we’re not proud of.

We all have shame.

It’s the feeling that we don’t measure up, that something is wrong with us. We use words to describe ourselves like: deficient, flawed, damaged, unacceptable, unlovable, rejected, dirty, inferior, broken, disgusting.

In response, a lot of us either hide from our shame, or we numb our pain with different addictions. For some it’s food, or drugs, or alcohol. For others, it’s explosive anger.

Jesus wants to restore us and free us from our shame.

He wants us to be able to put our shame behind us in order that we can be positioned and prepared to accomplish what He wants us to, and to actually testify about Him with our life and our words.

Peter was someone who was suffering from shame over something he did wrong. He denied that he knew Jesus three times. After Christ’s resurrection, Peter might have been thinking… I’m forgiven but I don’t know if I’m usable. I am damaged goods.

So what does Jesus do? In John, chapter 21, Jesus goes to Peter while he’s fishing and leads him through a restoration process. And it’s the same process for us too.

Jesus didn’t start by pointing the finger at Peter. Instead, he met Peter where he was at with grace and truth. He invited Peter to have breakfast with him and talk about what happened. For each time Peter denied Him, Jesus asked Peter a question: Do you love me? And each time he questioned Peter, He gives him an assignment: “Feed my lambs.” “Take care of my sheep.” And again, “Feed my sheep.” (v. 15-17)

In effect what He was saying is, “I have a job for you, Peter. You qualify. You’re not damaged goods. I trust you.”

Jesus meets each of us where we are with grace and truth – and gently demands that we face the truth about ourselves.

Struggling with shame? You don’t have to wait until you get your life straightened out. Jesus will meet you where you’re at and will offer you both grace and truth, too.

For a lot of us, if we did something really bad, we would expect God to have His arms are crossed, toe tapping, and say in a shaming tone, “What in the world were you thinking?”

But that’s not how Jesus responds. With grace and love He comes to Peter and invites him to share a meal and to talk openly and honestly. To own his part and see whatever happened for what it was.

Where are you at today? Have you dealt with your shame yet or are you still numbing or hiding from something you did or something that was done to you in your past? Jesus wants to give you His grace today.

Why? The very last thing Jesus said before He ascended was this: “All authority in heave and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18)

We have an assignment along with the disciples. But God can’t use us as His agents of grace if we first don’t allow Him to restore our hearts.

For more information, check out our additional resources by Chip Ingram about how to know God better.

Written By

Chip Ingram

Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge

Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

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