When New Life Defeats Shame
By Jennifer Slattery
“I know I’m forgiven, but what do I do with the memories.”
The tearful woman standing before me didn’t expand, but I didn’t need to know what haunted her to understand. I’d been there—fighting to live in grace, but feeling overwhelmed by shame. Of all my sins, those against my own body, when I gave myself way, left the deepest damage.
I was walking with Jesus, growing in Him, saturated, to my core, with God’s light and life, but I felt as if I oozed filth and darkness.
A decade prior, that was exactly where Jesus met me—in my darkness and shame. He pulled me off the streets of Tacoma, Washington and spent the next ten years healing my heart, removing my shame, and transforming my thinking so that I could begin to see myself as He saw me—made new, righteous, and without blemish in His sight.
I believe He did the same for many of the Thessalonican believers who received the letter today’s verse came from. Living in a commercial and political hub of the ancient world, where paganism permeated the culture, they’d been rescued from darkness, which scholars believe included sexual depravity, one of the most self-destructive sins of all.
Did memories of who they’d once been plague them? Or did they remember who they were in Christ—that they’d been made new? That they belonged to the day, where the light of righteousness shined?
The Greek word translated as belong expresses a state of being. These ancient Christians were no longer sinful pagans. In fact, their past had become a powerful testimony to grace (1 Thes. 1:9). Their old nature had been abolished and they’d been made entirely new. The author of today’s verse wanted them, and by extension, us, to live in that reality—the reality of who we are, children of the light, forgetting and moving past who we once were.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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