“For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame”Hebrews 12:2b
Today’s verse tells us that Jesus despised the shame. He put shame in its rightful place. He didn’t allow it to stop Him. From Christ’s example, we can say, “Shame, I will no longer give you any control over me. Joy waits for me on the other side. I yield no more to you!”
Shame is often a trick of the devil. What you reveal may release love, comfort, and support. Still, it is worth suffering shame to continue the path God has called us to walk. We can’t please our Savior if we allow shame to divert us from His call.
We may stagnate in God’s plan for us because shame stands in our way. Our shame may be from something we did many years ago, or it may be in something that currently binds us. When we look down our path and see the shame that may come upon us if we reveal that “thing,” we stop and languish in fear and what-ifs.
“I can’t do that,” we say to ourselves. It would harm my parents’ faith in me, damage my friendships, or any number of other possible or imagined outcomes. The fact is that revealing the “thing” may have real consequences. But that doesn’t justify refusing God’s path and it doesn’t justify allowing shame to rule our lives.
All we need do is look upon Jesus. He knew that being found guilty of blasphemy and being sentenced to execution upon a cross would disgrace His family members. He knew His disciples would be confused and hurt. He knew that the people He’d preached to with boldness and authority might feel ashamed for believing Him. Jesus faced the utmost shame, for He was perfect in all He did, yet He permitted “His own” (John 1:11) to condemn Him as an ungodly sinner.
The Other Side
Jesus knew shame, but He did not allow it to rule Him. Instead, He chose to suffer the shame because He could see past it. Christ knew that He would be victorious, raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father. He knew that there was joy on the other side of shame. There is joy for us, too, on the other side of shame, but we will never experience that joy unless we move forward on our path. We may find that what we thought would cause us shame was just a mirage, but if we do suffer shame we will get to the other side. And while we walk through the shame, we have this promise: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” (Nahum 1:7)
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