The key to authentic Christian faith is an honest assessment of who I am. I have to grasp that everything I have is a result of Christ’s work and not any merit of my own. However, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I can’t say or do anything to make God love me any more. I can’t do anything to cause Him to stop loving me, either.
I love the story of the prodigal son, and the father’s unfailing, unconditional love for his son. Many times though, I’ve wondered what it must have been like to be that boy in that moment before he walked into the banquet his father threw in his honor. Was he uncomfortable? Did he feel like he was home, or was he ashamed to face the rest of his family and friends? I’m not sure I could have walked into the banquet.
God speaks to His enemies in Isaiah 65:13 “Behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed.”
Joy is a confidence that is future focused. No matter what happens NOW, I know what will be. (Through faith, I know it.) Shame dwells on the past. Shame says, Because of what happened THEN, I know what I am. (Through experience or through someone else telling me, I know it.) Joy is to trust God. Shame is to trust man -whether self or someone else. Joy is empowering. Shame is debilitating. Shame comes from the outside, joy from within.
Being one of God’s children cannot co-exist with being ashamed. He removed all my shame when the salvation transaction was completed. I’m the only one who can allow the shame back. When Satan delivers it to my doorstep, it may be labelled failure, or regret, or a label I’m not expecting. No matter what, I must not pick up the baggage.