When you lose what you always thought you needed in order to be fulfilled, you find out that God was all you needed – and your shame lifts.
Today’s text: “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them” (Jeremiah 10:14, ESV).
Healing of shame comes when you lose the things that you’ve always counted on for your self-worth, and God demonstrates that He loves you anyway. You realize that none of those things were the source of your well-being. The love of God is the source, and shame is gone.
That’s the story of my life. As I candidly describe in today’s broadcast, I was committed to looking good, sounding intelligent, and gaining the approval of others. I was stuck in a cycle of shame. Becoming a Christian, though it assured my salvation, did not heal me of all of my shame.
Then one day I experienced the love of the Holy Spirit at a Pentecostal revival. I didn’t know how to look good in this setting, couldn’t find the words to sound intelligent, and had absolutely no idea how to gain other people’s approval. I expected to be judged, but the young evangelist looked at me with absolutely no shame. In his eyes, I saw the love of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit met me. I had never experienced love like that. My encounter with God is certainly not everyone’s experience (and certainly doesn’t need to be). God meets us in so many different ways.
It wasn’t God’s goal to make me not look good. It was God’s goal to set me free. It was then that I began to understand that God was not out to snatch away things that were dear and precious to me. God’s goal was to make me a better “me.” That is true in your life, too, and to get you there, God wants to get that shame off you.
Anything that you look to for ultimate fulfillment rather than God is an idol. And, until those idols are destroyed, they have power to drive you, mock you and shame you. But when your substitutes for God are gone, and you experience the love of God anyway, you’re healed of shame.
And that’s the Gospel.