3rd March 2019

The Shame Game

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save human [being]s and animals alike, O Lord, How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalm 36:5-7 (NSRV Anglasised)

Have you ever been victim of the shame game? Sadly, in our culture we can be shamed for just about anything, whether shameful or not. Shame has been made a weapon for social, economic and political gain. It’s played out on news outlets and networking sites. Words of shame can come to us from foes and foreigners as well as friends and family. And the most toxic shaming we hear is actually from the closest voice we know—our own.

But what about God? Does he play the shame game? There’s a story which sheds light on this question: Jesus’ first miracle. A wedding celebration was about to come to an embarrassing halt because the host had run out of wine. It may sound insignificant to us today but back then, in that culture, it was a major social faux pas that would bring incredible shame to the family name. This wasn’t really Jesus’ problem, and some could argue that the host deserved to be publicly shamed. But Jesus made a different call. He miraculously turned water into an abundance of fine wine. Instead of playing the shame game, he elevated the host to a higher place of honour. Imagine the impact on the host as his evening and reputation is transformed by Jesus’ act of mercy!

The way the Word of God—Jesus—responds in this crisis, reveals the Father’s heart. God doesn’t speak words of shame to us. Rather, his word comes to silence shame by mercifully lifting us up in his glory and honour. When words of shame are shot our way, God’s word of honour spoken to us in Jesus shields our ears and heart from the impact of shame. Another Psalm reminds us of just that point: “In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me” (Psalm 31:1). And even when our own voice tries to convince us that our shame is beyond Jesus’ righteousness, read these words just a few Psalms away in the header scripture (see above).

People continue to play the shame game when mistakes happen, even though no one ever wins that way. But Jesus still works miracles, where everyone can celebrate in the end. And there’s no shame in that.

Prayer
Gracious Father, we are frequently dragged down by others, even ourselves. But in contrast, you lift us up; you encourage and motivate us. Help us both to appreciate that and to respond to it. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Presented by Jeff Broadnax
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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Jeff Broadnax is a GCI Elder in Grace Communion International in the USA and serves as National Coordinator of GCI Generation Ministries.

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You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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