The Walk of Shame
At uni, if a guy or girl on a night out had ended going back and staying the night with someone in a different hall, they would be required to do the so-called ‘walk of shame’ the following morning: walking back across campus to their own room early in the morning, clearly wearing the clothes they’d chosen to go out in the night before. It was obvious what had happened, it was obvious what they’d been up to.
While the reason for it may not be so obvious to those around us, I think many of us feel like we’re doing the walk of shame most of the time. There are things that we’ve done, and continue to do; things that we’ve thought, and continue to think; things that we say, and continue to say; that we’re not proud of. It is important that we recognise that we are not perfect, it is important that we know our need for Jesus… but if we stop there we’re stuffed.
I think that shame is Satan’s number one weapon against Christians. When we carry those feelings of shame, our focus is eternally on ourselves and how crap we are. We look down at how much we need Jesus, how helpless we are to change our own situation… and forget to look up!
In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve have sinned, what is the first thing that happens?
“At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.””
As soon as they’ve eaten the forbidden fruit, they feel shame. They hide from the Lord because they realise their nakedness and they know they’ve done wrong. They are afraid.
When we look at our wrongdoing, we naturally want to hide from the Lord. We are afraid. But our God is a good God and we know that, through His gift of forgiveness, through what Christ has done for us, we are forgiven. Our guilt is gone, the old has passed. While our weakness may be very apparent to us, God sees us clean.
He is not ashamed of you. He is the God who says, ‘everyone who believes in me will not be put to shame’ (Romans 10:11). You are deeply loved (Ephesians 3:17-19). He has placed treasure in you (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
When we continue to see ourselves as broken and dirty, and shame creeps in, it only causes us to focus more on our feelings of inadequacy. But who are you to call yourself shameful? Look up from yourself for a moment and look to the God who loves you and has called you to Himself.
Shame is Satan’s biggest weapon because it turns our attention away from the God who loves us and cleanses us. It turns our eyes from the Kingdom, and our part to play in His mission. He distracts us by causing us to focus on lies about ourselves.
So don’t let him win. Repent and believe. Turn your eyes from your own feelings of inadequacy to the God who has made you clean and wants to lavish His gifts and purpose upon you. And go serve Him in the world.