After getting married, my bride and I went to buy our bed frame at the furniture store. She liked the look of a sleigh bed, but I wasn’t convinced. As an illustration, I hopped on one of the sleigh beds and pretended I was on an actual sleigh, kneeling near the foot of the bed. I started cracking the whip on my imaginary horses while bouncing up and down singing the Christmas carol: “Giddy up, Giddy up, let’s go…”
It was right at that moment that a store clerk entered the display room, gaped at me briefly, and turned right back around and left.
We all have moments of embarrassment we can recall with such vivid clarity; this story being one of the more innocuous types. Sometimes we said the wrong thing in front of people, sometimes it’s that we feel judged by others or God. We regret our actions and wish we had done things differently. We want to hide our shame, but even when we don’t reveal it, it keeps us ostracized, feeling like we don’t fit in, or can’t fit in with others. Thing is, we all have these fears, these inadequacies, these things we wish were different. We want freedom from our shame.
And while shame can come from external sources, we tend to carry it on ourselves. We felt the embarrassment or the humiliation and we remember it sharply. Even years later, small things no one even thinks about anymore tweak our emotions. Like its cousin bitterness, it becomes something that only hurts us. It keeps us hiding, timid, ashamed.
We can rid ourselves of this by talking about it with others and receiving their acceptance. But we also must cease trying meeting every social expectation we encounter (we aren’t going to please everyone). Finally, we must forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made and seek forgiveness from God, who gives to all freely. We don’t have to live with the burden of shame and we aren’t condemned to a life alone because of things we wish we had done differently.
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[f] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 9:5 (NKJV)