We walk into church, having recently made the decision to follow Jesus. We feel the stares. Perhaps they are in our head, perhaps they are not. We feel so vulnerable, exposed. We still feel shame about our past. We recognize some people in the congregation, people who knew us before we accepted Christ. We feel like imposters. What must they think of us? We turn around, ready to head for the exit doors. But the usher motions for us to take a seat, as service is about to start. We sink into the chair, wishing ourselves invisible. The shame of our past is still fresh, and we wonder if we are really okay with God.
Who are you now?
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
A Beautiful Truth
Sin bears grief, but salvation brings forth joy. As children of God, we now have unspeakable joy (1 Peter 1:8). Now that Christ is our Lord, how does God see us now? Look at what Isaiah says. We are now clothed with the garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness. Instead of the ashes of mourning in our head, we have been given a beautiful crown (Isaiah 61).
Now that we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have an incredible present and future. Our past no longer has power over us, nor can it dictate our future. Paul knew that better than most.
A few days after his conversion, Paul almost immediately began to preach about Jesus. He must have been the talk of the town. The man who persecuted those who loved Jesus had now come to love that same Jesus himself (Acts 9:19-22).
But there were some who doubted the authenticity of his conversion. After Saul left Damascus, he went to Jerusalem and attempted to join the disciples there. However, they refused to accept him as a true disciple. We can imagine why. Could they trust this man whose past included inflicting persecution?
The disciples at Jerusalem refused to receive Paul because they did not believe he had changed (Acts 9:26).
We may have people who knew us before we came to know Jesus. They may have witnessed us engaging in sinful behavior. But that is our past. What is true of us now is that our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. What is true of us now is that God sees us through Christ. We have glorious garments, adorned with jewels, and a crown. That is a beautiful truth.
Watch Session Four
The Turning Point
Are there shameful parts of your past—or present—that are affecting your habits and actions? Do you believe that Jesus takes away your shame?
I do believe my shame is washed away by myself salvation. It is myself that brings up my pastcA, not God. I have to continually read God’s Word to refresh myself that my sons are forgiven and washed away, my past is past and I am anew in God’s love and light. I wake up every morning thanking Him for that
There are parts of my past I regret and I wish I could take back. I know He forgives me. I know He loves me. The part I struggle with is the fact that I remember them so well, and I’m still ashamed by them. Even the daily mistakes I make. So if all of this is true for me, He cant possibly still forgive me. How can He fully trust me, when I don’t fully trust myself to be a better person through Him.
And I know none of this is true in His eyes. He made me, has a plan for me, knows me. I’ve got to give up that sense of control and just let (allow) His love to pour out on me. Those emotions and things that I’m feeling are not from Him.
There are parts of my past that I wish I could change. I believe that God has forgiven me, and I know that it is me that will occasionally remember and bring those thoughts up. I struggle to forgive myself and let it all go. I often hear that my story may help someone, I’m just not ready to share that story. Pray for me that God helps me forgive myself and release the shame of my past. If the story of my experience can help another, I don’t want to be in the way of Jesus working in the life of someone else.
I do believe that he washes them away. I was once told by a pastor that if the sins were written on a chalkboard, God erases them, forgives us after we repent and forgets them. The problem comes when we try to forgive ourselves. We keep reliving them. We keep shaming ourselves over our sins. We keep looking at ourselves in the mirror based on these sins. We keep asking for forgiveness but God keeps saying to us “My child, what are you talking about. I’ve already forgiven and forgotten. You are a new person washed as white as snow. Keep moving forward from the darkness into my light.”
I’ve sinned in the past and continue to struggle with bad habits but I know God loves me! I pray daily for forgiveness and His love. I believe Jesus takes away our (my) shame and “wipes the slate clean” so I can experience joy.
Oh my goodness yes – about the shameful mistakes that I have made. Do I feel convicted and rejected? – Convicted to repent but never rejected. I feel secure in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus absolutely takes away the shame.
I still re-live my pain and shame sometimes, but I just keep handing back to Christ.
I believe that Jesus sees me as his beautiful, redeemed daughter. The ugliness of my sin has been washed away by His own blood.
I believe wholeheartedly in the fact that I am perfect with God. He sees me as His loving daughter and has bestowed all of His love on me. I have been forgiven my past. It is now my job align my will with God’s. Jesus is my guide. I have complete faith in Him.
Yes, I believe Jesus takes away our shame. But I still feel my attitudes of the past hold me back from becoming who He wants me to be. I tried really hard to be "a good girl". I was different than my peers and prided myself in being so. Therein lies my sin – pride, arrogance – and they have followed me to a certain extent throughout my life. They affect who I witness to and whom I befriend. This isn’t a path God wants me on, and I know it. It is shameful to think I have been a follower of Christ for over 20 years and still battle these attitudes.
Some days, I feel the shame of my past but honestly, it haunted me so much, long ago, that I gave it to God and it hasn’t haunted me since. Jesus most definitely took away my shame!! I don’t linger in that shame at all anymore. THANK YOU JESUS for being my savior and accepting me, just as I am.
Sign up for IF:Equip
Get the Daily Devotionals Emailed to You