By Pam Vaughn
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The first time we see shame manifested in the Bible is in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned by partaking of the forbidden fruit. The first thing they did as a result of their disobedience to God’s Word is found in Genesis 3:7.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Sin entered into the heart of mankind through disobedience and rebellion, bringing shame along with it. First of all, Adam and Eve realized the need to clothe themselves with fig leaves. Secondly, when they heard the voice of the LORD God in the garden, Adam and his wife hid from His presence.
Genesis 3:8-10 (NLT) When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees.
Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid I was afraid because I was naked “
Satan changed God’s Word in order to deceive Eve. “He told her,” you shall not surely die. As a result of that one little altered statement, sin entered into the human race bringing death with it. Satan is still working in the world today, trying to trap people and cause them to be lost by twisting God’s Word to fit his own agenda.
The scriptures show how the blame game began. The man accused the woman of causing him to sin, and the woman accused the serpent of deceiving her. After all the accusations, God’s punishment was sure. Because of disobedience, they all shared in the penalty. Not only did (he serpent succeed in his deceptive plan to cause Adam and Eve to sin, he rejoiced when their shame led to separation from the presence of God.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
When trials and temptations come along, the enemy will try to convince a person that Jesus doesn’t love them anymore. He puts questions in a person’s mind to try and bring hopelessness and shame into that life. If Jesus loves me, then why am I struggling with this sin? Why hasn’t He delivered me, so I can live a Christian life the way I want to`? Why do I feel this way if it is wrong?
Jesus died for us to be free. He has already paid the price for that freedom, and we can come boldly before His throne and He will not cast us away. God has to allow a person to walk through their trials and struggles, so that they will be able to help others. Everyone has something that they have to overcome in this life. If we received an instant change, we wouldn’t learn how to fight the enemy and wouldn’t have a testimony to give others hope.
A shepherd often had to break the leg of a wandering lamb in order to teach that lamb how to stay close to him. People also need to learn in order to grow. If every temptation were removed instantly from a person’s life, that individual would not grow to “maturity” in Christ. They would always be weak in faith. Learning how to overcome weaknesses also teaches a person how to keep his eyes on Jesus. When a person finally begins to feel free from any type of bondage, he also will feel stronger in spirit, and receive a new understanding of what it truly means to have mercy extended to him.
Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Jesus gave us His Spirit so we can stand against the wiles of the devil and conquer him. God wants us to stand and light. His Word is given to us, to help us keep walking in truth and make right choices.
Deliverance from any sin is a process, not a quick fix. When I was delivered, I had to reach out as far as I could and do all I knew to do; then Jesus did the rest. When someone allows Jesus to walk him through a particular struggle, He will put the right components back in that life during the process. We must let God do it His way.
I lived in a lesbian relationship during my journey back to Jesus, but inside I was making changes that only Jesus knew about. To those around me, the change was not evident at first, but as time went by, I could tell that they knew something was different. I didn’t try to figure out what I would have to do in the future, I was just desperate for deliverance. Jesus never stops loving a person just because they are living a sinful lifestyle. I sometimes wonder how we Christians can justify our negative outlook on sinners, when Jesus may have sent them our way for help.
I wasn’t even sure in the beginning if I could change my lifestyle, but I knew I had to try. Somewhere along the way I had allowed a ray of hope to come into my mind. When I approached Jesus in that way, I gave Him the controls, and allowed myself to be positioned for recovery and restoration.
Shame had kept me from seeking help for many years. The enemy uses this tool of shame, especially on people struggling with same sex attractions. So many Christians have viewed homosexuality as the worst possible sin a person can commit, and often feel that deliverance for those people is impossible. This type of thinking is not scriptural.
The Bible names the fearful and unbelievers among those who will be lost. This is all sin. When I was in the lesbian lifestyle, I found myself believing what I had always heard about the homosexual lifestyle; therefore, I lost all hope.
With my deliverance came understanding concerning why it is hard for some people to come out of their sinful lifestyles. They gradually accept the world’s view of, “If it feels, right then it is right”. With this attitude, a person will feel no need for repentance and, without repentance there is no remission of sins. This is another reason why the enemy is trying to get people to accept sin as normal.
Some of our most gifted and talented Christians have been snatched out of our churches by the enemy due to the weight of shame they carry concerning inner struggles. It all goes back to the garden, when Adam and Eve hid themselves from God because of sin. A lot of Christians have been forced to keep silent about emotional traumas forced on them as children because shame has been holding them hostage. Jesus died to show us a better way. His Spirit has been offered to us so we can walk in newness of life, and fulfill His purpose for that life.
Shame doesn’t affect only people who live in sin. Probably in most congregations, there are people who’ have been made run of because of handicaps, lack of education or some other deficit. Jesus never singled out any group or individual so He could make fun of them. To imitate someone who may walk or talk in a manner contrary to our liking is not pleasing to God. We need to make our prayer: Lord, help me see through your eyes and speak through your lips. Let my life be a reflection of your image and actions.
Jesus took shame with him when He was nailed to the cross. He was stripped of His clothing and was spit upon. He completely scorned shame for you and me, as He endured the suffering of the cross. Remember, Jesus didn’t remain on the cross. He rose from the dead with resurrection power, and He wants us to have this same power. We must remember that Jesus has not changed. He is available to strengthen, and to heal all who will open their hearts to hope.
The above article, “Hope Maketh Not Ashamed” was written by by Pam Vaughn. The article was excerpted from chapter three in Vaughn’s book, The Value of One Lamb.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.