For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

During the pandemic, I walk with friends. It troubles me that one female friend repeatedly puts herself down. My life coach recommended Dr. Brené Brown’s books and TED Talks. She is a research professor, who has spent two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Guilt is: I did something bad. Shame is: I am bad. Dr. Brown notes shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide and eating disorders. Shame needs three things to grow: secrecy, silence and judgment. Shame is an epidemic in our culture. The antidote is empathy, love, compassion, acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness.

In Job 19, we hear both his shame, and its antidote. “I am loathsome even to my own family…but I know I know that my Redeemer lives.”  We can feel shame or fear, even when we have actually not done anything wrong. We are also taught that vulnerability is weakness, inviting more shame and fear. Someone shared with me a beautiful English translation of the Lord’s prayer from the Aramaic: Forgive our secret fears as we freely choose to forgive the secret fears of others.”   

Shame tells us we are not good enough, not worthy enough, or yells: “Who do you think you are?!” But there is great comfort in the Scriptures. Romans 8 reminds us, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  And Hebrews 4: “In Jesus, we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. . . . Therefore, let us approach the Throne of Grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find help in time of need.”  When we allow the soft blanket of Grace to enfold us, then our fear and shame dissolves away. So, let us set the mind on the Spirit, where there is life and peace.

Prayer: Come Lord Jesus. Enter our Hearts and Minds with Love, Grace, Forgiveness and Healing. Remove our Shame. Dissolve our Fears. Sing through us, to make a Joyful Noise to You! 

Psalm 95, Psalm 88, Psalm 27; Job 19:21-27a; Hebrews 4:1-16; Romans 8:1-11