Ruth wiped her eyes. Successful at a price? Forgiven but damaged? She wished so much more for her baby sister.
In my novel A Memory Between Us, the heroine, Lt. Ruth Doherty, struggles with shame over her past. This six-part blog series deals with shame that lingers after sin has been forgiven or there was no sin to begin with, as in abusive situations. (First post link.)
God doesn’t want us to live under a heavy cloak of shame because:
Christ Restores Us
Ever feel like this?…”God could never use someone like me. He knows what I’ve done. I’m forgiven, but damaged. Useless.”
The Prodigal Son felt the same way. Listen to the shame in his voice as he returned home: “‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men'” (Luke 15:18-19, italics mine).
So did the father say, “Sounds fair. You can live here, but you’re no good to me anymore”?
Um, no. The father said, “‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate’” (Luke 15:22-23, italics mine).
1) He gave him a robe, a sign of distinction, and – like we talked about last week – a sign of covenant agreement and identity.
2) He gave him a ring, a sign of authority, meaning the son could act on the father’s behalf.
3) He gave him sandals, something only a son wore, not a slave.
4) He gave him a celebration, because he was overjoyed to have his son back.
In other words, the father completely restored the son to his original position in the household!
When God forgives our sins, He does the same for us. He completely restores us as His sons and daughters.
1) He gives us His robe of righteousness.
2) He gives us the authority to act on His behalf. He wants to use us.
3) He makes us His children, complete with inheritance rights.
4) He throws a party! Psalm 18:19 says, “He rescued me because he delighted in me.”
Isn’t that fantastic? Don’t let shame keep you from the wonderful things God wants to do with your life. He has a plan for you. He has a purpose for you. He has a mission for you.
When shame says you’re useless, you say, “Go away, liar! I’m a child of the King. He has blessed me and He delights in me. And He has made me useful.”