Though the whole world might be quick to say, “Shame on you,” and “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” in Christ, God has something entirely different to say. The message of the Gospel is: shame OFF you!
There’s only one thing we are told in the scripture about a relationship in Paradise. God only gives us one, essential attribute of a marriage in a world with no sin: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25, ESV). They had nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Heaven is the place where there is no shame.
Shame is essentially a lie – a subtle, deep deception that says: As you are now, you don’t measure up. So you need to figure out what’s wrong with you and improve if you are ever going to be loved and accepted.
It’s true that we are flawed. Indeed, we were all born in sin.
What’s untrue is that we are unloved because we are flawed. The truth is, God’s love is set upon you not because you measure up, but because He made you and you belong to Him.
When parents, teachers, coaches and peers withhold their acceptance and affection when we aren’t measuring up in their eyes, it tortures our souls. We are made for love and acceptance. When it is withheld, we’ll do almost anything to attain it.
At one level, shame works. We’ll run faster, jump higher and try harder to please others in our efforts to gain acceptance and love. But God didn’t design us to try hard for fear of being rejected. God designed us to try hard because of the certainty of our acceptance. The gospel message runs completely contrary to the tactics of the world. Instead of waiting until you measure up, God accepts you in Christ. Because Christ measured up, you are fully, forever accepted.
Perfect love cures condemnation. So, in Christ, shame OFF you! And that’s the Gospel!