For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (NASB)
I’m so pleased to announce the cover art for the HopeSprings Books July release of Not Ashamed by my friend Candi Pullen and me. This is the sequel to Not Guilty, and is the story of Charity Wright, born of the rape of Carrie Shepherd in the first novel. If you haven’t read Not Guilty yet, I urge you to get it now and read it before ordering Not Ashamed. End of commercial.
Have you ever been ashamed of who you were? 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that old things have passed away, we are a new creation in Christ. But sometimes we still carry around a lot of baggage from that old life.
We all have things we don’t like about ourselves. We have issues. And sometimes society, or our own family, reinforces that self-loathing with labels that make us feel even worse about ourselves.
When I was born, in her drugged state, my mom said, “That’s not my baby. That’s a monkey.” She thought I was the ugliest baby ever born, and that my bald head was too huge for my body. It didn’t help matters that as soon as I got my first tooth, I somehow managed to get hold of a piece of string and pulled it out. That tooth was the last one to come back in, so when it finally did, my teeth were as crooked as a West Virginia mountain road. Add that to stringy mousy-brown hair a blotchy complexion, and thick eyeglasses, and you have a pretty good description of ugly.
But my appearance wasn’t the only thing I felt shame about. My parents divorced when I was sixteen. Naturally, I decided it was all my fault. I had known my mom was running around on my dad for most of my life. Mom had even threatened to kill me if I ever told. So, I kept my mouth shut. Until my dad asked me flat out. Then I spilled my guts, and they divorced. Was it my fault? No, but tell that to an already miserable teenager.
I even stopped going to church on a regular basis for a while, and that was the one place I’d always felt most at home. I’d felt acceptance there, something I’d never felt in my own home. I was ashamed. I think I was afraid that if they knew what was happening in my family, I’d no longer be welcome there either.
Shame about our own actions is a necessary step to forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But once something is forgiven, God puts it as far away from Him as the east is from the west, (Psalm 103:12) and remembers it no more. (Jeremiah 31:34) We’re not God. Satan loves to taunt us with past transgressions. But we do need to develop a godly mindset of forgetfulness about past sin.
Forgive and forget. It’s a lot easier said than done, isn’t it? But shame about things over which we had no control is a symptom of remnants of that root of bitterness. It’s a useless and destructive emotion.
There is freedom in forgiveness. Love really does cover a multitude of sins. Jesus set me free from my shame when I finally learned this lesson. I’m not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of salvation to all who believe. I believe. That sad, ugly little girl is gone. I’m a new creation in Christ Jesus. He loves me. And He’ll never leave or forsake me. That’s all I need. God bless.
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: Does anybody have some good news you’d like to share? I’m in a mood to celebrate! .