I was talking to my sister the other day about something, and during the conversation I was making a point about centering things on Christ and happened to say it like this:
“… should be centered on the one and only Jesus Christ Almighty.”
I guess that this isn’t something that usually is said, not without being an expletive. So her response was to laugh. And mine was to get confused. All of a sudden I was very aware of what I had said, and she reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal it was just funny to her, but I felt on the verge of embarrassment! And then I was ashamed of myself.
Now, I was raised in the church. So was my sister. We are not entirely unaccustomed to hearing talk about God, or people using his name. We aren’t shocked by true worship, crazy prayers, or convicting sermons. But it’s been a while since she has heard me so entirely passionate about our creator, considering I had decided that he and I were fighting a while back. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced the kind of love, gratitude, and submissive sacrifice that is in my relationship with God before, and since she’s known me my entire life I don’t think she has either. In fact, it may have freaked her out a little bit to have a conversation with me for the first time in weeks and hear me talking the way I was… I know I would have been a little weirded out. It’s strange to find that someone has changed after having known them for so long, even if it’s a positive change, because it feels like we don’t know them anymore.
I wouldn’t let myself feel embarrassed though. I wouldn’t accept that I should be ashamed or self-conscious of what I’d said. Here are my reasons we should fight the embarrassment:
That Enemy Strikes Again!
In my strategic mind I do recall that the time when Satan is going to try to lead us away from God is generally when we are trying to follow him. He’s a shady guy, and he would like nothing more than to take things away from God, like those who are trying so very hard to follow him with all of their heart. And while his forms of attack are generally personalized, they can be categorized:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10
This description of the shenanigans the devil will be pulling is straight from Jesus. He warns his children against the dangers of being unable to discern what is the living truth and what is a lie of death earlier in the book of John as well while rebuking those that are unable to accept and understand what has been proven real to them.
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8:44
Satan, being a jerk-wad, will always find a lie that will speak to the darkness of our hearts and tempt us away from the straight and narrow, which should now be referred to as Route 78. That’s why it’s so important to press into God all the more, taking our self-consciousness and placing it at the feet of Christ, asking him to give us a God-consciousness or Spirit-consciousness, or whatever it is that’ll turn our minds to what is more important.
Remember The Suffering? I Do.
Suffering, undergoing something that brings pain or a weight to bear, is not only entirely possible but promised to us as followers of Christ. Embarrassment, while entirely subjective, can be loosely placed under suffering if it brings you some sort of burden. And is that something to fear or be apprehensive of? No.
Christ himself went through so many experiences that could be described by a lesser being as embarrassing, from the way his family and friends treated him to the looks he got on the street to the way that he was put to death. As followers of him we are subjected to such a smaller amount of pain, especially considering how he intercedes for us. His desire is to keep us connected to the Father and to bring him glory, not to take us out of the pain and suffering we will experience. And while we are suffering and continue to push ourselves to pray, worship and read the word we find that our relationship with God becomes stronger. So of course we’ll suffer more, of course we will see ourselves from the world’s point of view as crazy and radical; the devil wants our perspective to be skewed so that we don’t see our suffering as something that leads to maturity but as something we don’t want to go through.
The best reason to forget embarrassment is to be found in a promise. Now, God promises things on himself so that they are to become like the nature of himself.
“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his promises very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. god did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered us may be greatly encouraged.” – Hebrews 6:17
So woo hoo for us! God’s promises are as solid as he is! Now read this one:
“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is his name-the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” – Isaiah 54:4&5
This is from the old testament when God was talking to Israel about how much of a whore it was, turning to idols and sinning like it was the latest fashion. What is cool is that the promises from the old testament have been fulfilled through Christ for his people, and what is believing that someone else’s opinion of us is more important than God’s but an idol? That means that when we get to the judgment throne our shame and embarrassment, be it for one sin or another, will have been cleansed by the blood of our Redeemer.
What I find is that embarrassment and shame, though sometimes completely understandable, can be a choice. I chose not to be embarrassed when my sister laughed. I chose not to be embarrassed when I tell people I am a Christian. Even though I am ashamed of my sins to the point where I wish I could hide them, I don’t let them embarrass me either. The opinions of my fellow humans and my fellow believers mean so much less to me than the opinion of my Father in heaven, and he will not bring me to shame and embarrassment but to a deeper relationship with him so long as I give everything that comes at me in his able hands.