Dealing With Shame: A Letter To My Congregation

A Word from Pastor Joshua

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There is a word which I don’t often hear in church circles. It is not a bad word, and certainly not an unbiblical one, it’s just not popular. It is a word which describes an experience common to all mankind. That word is shame.

Shame is powerful. It keeps many people out of church. It keeps some members from serving in the church. It even keeps some people from connecting with their friends and family.

Shame is the sense that we are evil. It is the sense that we have not only done something wrong, but we are wrong. It is the sense that we are worthy of punishment.

We have all done shameful things, for all sin is shameful. When Adam and Eve sinned (disobeyed God) in the garden of Eden, they were ashamed. And their shame caused them to sew together fig leaves for garments. Their shame caused them to hide from each other, and then to hide from God Himself. When God appeared in the garden to walk with them, they hid among the trees (Genesis 3).

Shame breaks fellowship. When one hides, one cannot be fully known. But we were created for relationship. We all want to be fully known, fully accepted, and fully loved.

Jesus came into this world not only to pay the penalty for our sins, but also to remove the effects of sin. He did not merely come to save us from being guilty of sin, he also came to save us from our sense of shame.

Jesus died a shameful death. He deserved our worship, but he accepted our shame. He is worthy of all glory and honor, yet he became sin for us that he might take away our reproach. He became filthy and reprehensible, we could not even bear to look at him, naked, bleeding, and in agony on the cross (Isaiah 53).

But by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53). I am crying as I write this because the love of Christ for us is so overwhelming to me. For I should have been on that cross. Yet I cannot bear it. I cannot endure the sufferings which I deserved for my sins. So my Jesus, my Lord, my King, and my God, He bore my sin and my shame on the cross.

Adam and Eve were afraid of what would happen if God discovered their shame. So they hid from each other. They were afraid of being rejected or punished by God. Perhaps they couldn’t even bear to admit to themselves what they had done. For to admit that one has sinned is to admit that one is evil. Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you are afraid of God’s wrath or of the rejection of others for your sins.

Jesus offers us freedom from shame. No matter what sin you have committed, His death on the cross is enough to pay for it. Jesus is the Creator, Ruler, Lord, King, Judge, and Master of the universe. When He declares us righteous, we are. Through His death on the cross, He offers us His righteousness that we may be truly loved and accepted.

When we come to Jesus, He washes away our sin, our guilt, and our shame. And He does it lovingly, gently, and at great cost.

When we experience the grace, the mercy, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ, when we understand His immeasurable love for us, we come to love Him. 

Shame has power to destroy relationships, but love is more powerful and restores relationships. It is my prayer for you that you will know the love of Christ and that you will live out of love and not shame or fear. 

If you want to talk about this or anything else on your mind, give me a call. I’m here for you.

Your Pastor,

Joshua

PS. I will be covering the topic of shame in more depth in a message on WTJR-TV16 on June 23 at 2:00 PM, June 25 at 1:30 PM, and June 26 at 7:30 PM.  


One thought on “Dealing With Shame: A Letter To My Congregation

  1. Joshua,
    I read your post on shame. These thoughts are not often spoken by pastors. You said it very well and your openness
    to others brokenness makes
    you very special indeed! I praise the LORD that you have persevered through many challenges and trials during your journey in this life and during your pastoral training.
    God has grown you into
    one amazing pastor!!!! Congratulations to you and Amy on the expectation
    of baby Hall #3 in December!
    🧒👶👶

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