Shame Part 2/3– The Return of the Son

“Bring out the best robe and put it on him.”
–The Father (Luke 15:22)

(picture: 'The Prodigal Son', Rembrandt)

How do you see yourself? Are you worthy of the best? Shame militates against our sonship. Shame’s counterfeit safety and control needs to be dismantled in our lives, so that trust and naked, unashamed sonship can take root. The antidote to shame is to relinquish control, stop pretending, and let ourselves be known and loved as we really are by the Father. The antidote to shame and every other curse is the gospel. We can trust the Father to love us perfectly, cover our nakedness, and justify our brokenness, as He always intended. We were created to be fully acceptable and comfortable in our own skin.

The Father isn’t afraid of the rubbish in our lives. Quite the contrary. The moment we turn to Him, He comes running towards us, throws His arms around us, embraces and kisses us repeatedly. He takes our shame upon Himself. Shame is destroyed by His perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing, unconditional love. The Father is constantly waiting to run towards us, irrespective of how much mess we are caked in. The ring, the robe, and the party are on constant standby for our return.

When we know the Father is waiting to run to us, it’s easier to turn to Him. Shame is self-centred, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Shame is rooted in the lie that we need to “cover up” and perform well in order to deserve and receive God’s love and affirmation. Such comparison thinking will always bring inadequacy and shame, because in our own opinion we will never measure up. Performance is the lie that we have to do something in order to be valued or valuable. The performance lie is as old as the Garden itself.

Shame partners with fear, and fear partners with control, pushing us ever further from our Father and from each other. The fruit of shame is fear of intimacy. The solution is to receive the covering robe of righteousness and justification by faith in Jesus Christ. The solution to shame is the tree of life – Jesus – He who was sent out of the city as the scapegoat and hung naked on a cross in order to take our shame. By faith we now receive His robe of righteousness. Human works are redundant.

Shame says that we are fatally flawed and must hide because of our unworthiness. Significance says that we are uniquely and beautifully made, a purposeful expression of God's creative genius in the earth. In Christ, we are enough!

This article is an extract from 

God Hunger: Meditations from a life of longing


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