This is the kind of comic strip that prompts questions like, “Are you serious?!? It’s shameful to have no shame?!? Shame make you a better Christian?!? Do you believe this junk?!?” But really that’s sort of the purpose of this kind of comic strip. It says the exact opposite of what I believe…and in an extreme way…helps me examine myself. It’s sort of like asking myself, “If you think this is so ridiculously false, why are you acting like it’s true? Why are you hoarding away shameful secrets from God?”
Shame can cause a barrier that keeps a person from reaching out towards God even though shame never keeps God from reaching out towards a person. Shame finds a great deal of power in secrets. Shame haunts us with the question “What will other people say?”
Shame can come from wrong decisions we’ve made but it can also be imposed upon us through no decision of our own. (For example, the pregnancy in this comic strip might have come about because of teenage love, but it could have also been the result of rape. We don’t know. We only know what Margie, “Flamethrower Mommy,” assumes. Don’t you really just want to tell her to mind her own business?!?)
This is one of the things I most dislike about shame. It can make us feel like there is something for which we need to repent when actually we didn’t do anything wrong. Something wrong was done to us. But we still feel shame. We don’t know what to do or what to pray.
I had a tough time choosing a Bible verse for today for that very reason. Sometimes we can feel a huge amount of guilt and shame when the truth is that we did nothing wrong.
Finally, my heart settled on this verse. It is a promise that doesn’t come to mind very often because it hinges on “if we ask any thing according to his will.” I’m not always sure of what His will for me is, but I know for a fact His will is for all of us to live our lives free from shame, so it’s a promise to hold fast in our hearts.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 1 John 5:14-15 (KJV)
When we find our voice and speak to Our Heavenly Father about the shame that we are feeling, His Holy Spirit will direct our prayers. Finding your voice, talking to God, letting His Holy Spirit guide you is, I believe, the best way to deal with either type of shame, and it prevents hoarding away secrets!