[Today's guest post is by Gloria Furman, a wonderful writer who lives on the other side of the world from me. Her blog Domestic Kingdom is dedicated to discussing the question of what the gospel of Jesus Christ has to do with "our everyday, mundane lives in the home." She discusses that subject as well as anyone on the interwebz, and better than most!]
We have a little graffiti artist in our home. Now that my son knows how to write the first letter of his name, we’ve been finding “J’s” all over the place—on Mommy’s paperwork, on the wall behind the armchair, in books. Whenever you hear one of us discovering another graffiti-ed “J,” you can hear Judson’s feet toddling in the opposite direction. He runs, and I go find him hiding in a corner of the apartment with a cheeky-slash-embarrassed smile on his face.
Why does my mischievous artist run and hide when he’s been caught? For the same reasons I do. When we dig deeper into the reasons we run and hide, we see there is a great difference between hiding from our sin and dying to our sin, having our life hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).
Here is a brief excerpt from Glimpses of Grace on seeking our joy in Christ who suffered shame on the cross so that we would never be put to shame again (Joel 2:26-27).
Shame Turned into Joy*
What is unique about the cleansing that can only come from God is the response it produces from us. When we experience shame over our sin our natural tendency is to hide from others. We shut people out of our lives, we avoid praying or Bible reading, and we cover up the evidence of our sin.
The reason my toddler hides the wrappers from stolen candy in the couch cushions is the same reason you and I might “miss” a phone call or “lose” an e-mail from a friend who is pursuing us. It’s the same reason we might make up excuses for neglecting fellowship and not going to church.
I love the honesty of my friend. I didn’t get to see her at our church meeting one week, although I knew she was there somewhere. I was looking for her because we had made plans that I would follow up with her about something. I said, “Hey, I missed chatting with you last week!” She said, “Yeah, I know. I was avoiding you. Sorry about that.” My friend openly confessed that she was hiding from accountability. Do you see how she didn’t give shame an opportunity to fester in her heart? She confessed with clarity and honesty.
We hide because we feel shame and we’re fearful of being shamed by others. That’s why Adam and Eve made coverings from fig leaves and hid from God when they sinned in the garden. Back in Psalm 51, what does King David request after he asks for forgiveness? In exchange for the shame of his sin, David asks the Lord to give him joy: “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice” (v. 8); “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit” (v. 12). Shame tells us to hide, but joy spills out in praise to God for his salvation.
Instead of hiding, what does David say he will do? “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you” (v. 13). “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness” (v. 14). “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise” (v. 15).
Only a tongue that has been loosed by God’s grace can sing like that. Only a heart that has been cleansed by God’s grace will bare itself to the world as a testimony to God’s mercy and righteousness.
What did Adam and Eve encounter when the Lord confronted them? He gave them grace and covered their nakedness with the skin of an animal he had slaughtered on their behalf, and he promised a Savior who would forever take away their shame (Gen. 3:15).
This grace is worth singing about!
What are some of your favorite songs about the freedom from shame that is ours in Christ Jesus?
[I am looking forward to reading Gloria's book when it is released later this year, and then I'll post a review here as well.]