Jesus Meets Shame
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“Shame on you!”
I’ve discovered that I’m too bald, too fat, too religious, too close minded, too white, too advantaged, too out of shape, too old, too insensitive, not woke enough and that I should never wear socks with my sandals. Our culture is good at shaming people.
Those things aren’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to real shame. Shame is the perception that I don’t make mistakes, I am a mistake, I am flawed, I am a failure and if you knew the real me, you would most certainly reject me because I am unlovable and disgusting. Shame is an identity of worthlessness.
What happens when Jesus meets shame? Mark 5 tells the story of a woman who had a bleeding problem for 12 years. The culture labeled her as unclean that she should stay separated from people because she was gross and dirty. She spent everything that she had on doctors trying to escape her situation, but things just grew worse and worse – not just physically, but emotionally. People had given up on her. She was useless.
But then she heard about Jesus.
The story goes that she elbowed her way through a large crowd and then plunged forward to touch the edge of Jesus’ garment. Instantly she knew that something it happened to her. A warm electricity vibrated through her body and she knew that she was healed.
Jesus also knew someone was healed and he asked for that person to step forward. In trembling and in fear she stepped forward and fell at the feet of Jesus and blurted out the whole story. She told him everything about her physical problems, her spiritual problems, her lack of connection, her isolation, her loneliness, her despair and hopelessness. Maybe she was expecting Jesus to heap more shame upon her and just confirm what the culture had been saying, that she was a disgusting and unredeemable person.
Jesus doesn’t. Jesus actually calls her, “daughter” (Mark 5:34). It’s the only time he ever says that. He dignifies her. He claims her. He transfers his love upon her unloveliness. He transfers peace to her troubled mind. He gives freedom to her shame. He gives value for her worthlessness. He gives her a kingdom instead of a slum. He restores her soul.
At the feet of Jesus we find a safe place where we can reveal the worst of us and we will not be loved less, we will be loved more. Not only will our sins be forgiven, but we will be released from our self rejection and self-hatred.
Come out from your shame and kneel at the feet of Jesus and tell him everything.