A few months ago, Daryl and I arrived home in separate cars around the same time. He parallel parked (we live in a townhouse and park on the street outside) and walked over to me, a big grin on his face, his arms open wide for a hug.
I couldn’t meet his gaze.
My eyes downcast, I burst into frustrated tears.
“What happened?” he asked. I gestured to my car.
“I bumped into that truck while parking,” I said. “The truck looks okay–I left a note just in case–but our bumper is definitely scratched.”
He grabbed me in the hug and put a hand under my chin, lifting my eyes to meet his.
“I love you,” he said.
“But the car–” I started.
“I love you,” he said.
“But it’s going to cost–”
“I love you,” he said. (And I thought I was crying BEFORE!)
What a change God has worked in my once car-obsessive husband. Of course, it helps that we drive a 2003 Corolla and not a 2016 Mercedes. But even so, he would have obsessed about that scratch in the past. God has been working on him.
And he extended that same grace to me.
When was the last time you felt ashamed? Maybe it was with a friend or boyfriend or husband or parent. Maybe it was with God.
God doesn’t deal in shame. He hates it. Shame can separate us from God by keeping us locked in prisons of self-hatred, doubt, and fear.
When we sin and feel guilty, that’s God’s way of telling us to stop, to turn, to repent. Guilt can be good, but shame is deadly.
That’s one reason I love Psalm 3 so much.
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
When my oldest son misbehaves, we are working on the subsequent apology.
“I’m sorry, Mommy,” he’ll say, his face downcast, his head hanging low. We will snuggle and I’ll remind him that I love him no matter what. Slowly, slowly, his eyes will raise to meet mine.
“No matter what?” he will ask.
“Always and forever!” I’ll say. And he will smile that beatific, clouds-parting-after-the-storm, heart-melting smile. Because his shame, and his head, have been lifted.
What bows you low in shame? God wants to lift this from you. Your past. Your addiction. Your secret. Your sin.
Go to him. Let him lift it away. If you need counseling or rehab or a gut-wrenching, honest conversation with your spouse or parent or child, do it. God wants us to be free to live unencumbered by shame.
Let him lift up your head.