“Shame! Shame! Everybody knows your name!” I remember being taunted as a kid for some word or act that went against the accepted norms of the “in” group. Shame doesn’t lose its power as we move into adulthood. A coach can be accused of sexual misconduct with a student, and with the light-speed flash of social media, they are shamed and often fired. Few wait for the evidence or a fair hearing.
Dare to suggest that some contemporary quest for personal identity might not be healthy or redemptive, and the simple question is shouted down by angry protests on Twitter, Facebook, and TV talk shows. “How dare someone question our personal freedom to reinvent or transform ourselves!” There is little rational argument or careful evaluation of evidence and potential outcomes. Shame is the powerful weapon of the immediate present in the hand of the shapers of today’s culture and values. In the end I’m not worried about being shamed by these priests and priestesses of popular culture. I am concerned about the pride that causes us to lose any guilt and shame when it comes to disobeying our Creator’s moral instructions.
In the Yodh section of Psalm 119 the psalmist reveals that he faced enemies who displayed ruthless arrogance and told lies against those who continued to trust in God’s life-giving commands. In Psalm 119:78 he asked God to deal with his opposition.
“Let the arrogant be put to shame for the lies they deceitfully spread about me. As for me, I will continue to meditate on Your instructions.” - Psalm 119: 78
Then he closes this section of Psalm 119 with a prayer. He recognizes that he could face true shame and guilt, so he cries out to the LORD to enable him to live with integrity as he trusts and obeys.
“May my heart be true and solid to its core following your statutes that I might not be put to shame.” - Psalm 119:80
LORD, I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ because it’s still Your power to conquer our pride so that we won’t have to face Your judgment and shame in the end. I pray for those who believe that they can find life and meaning in their own quest for their true self. Help them realize before it’s too late that the only true identity is found in Jesus. Help me not to be prideful as I confront others with Your Word realizing that I need to walk in integrity by depending upon Your Spirit today
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