Ruth wanted to scream, and for a moment she thought she had, until she raised her head and saw a squadron of squat-nosed fighter planes – P-47 Thunderbolts, Jack called them.
She stretched one hand high as if she could grab hold and climb away from what she had done, from who she was.
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:
2) Christ covers us
3) Christ restores us.
3) Christ restores us.
Christ Covers Us
Shame is a heavy burden. The Bible often describes people as being clothed, covered, or cloaked in shame. Can you feel the heaviness of that imagery? But the imagery has a deeper meaning as well.
In biblical times, many rituals were performed when people entered a covenant agreement. One of these rituals was the exchange of robes, such as when Jonathan gave his princely robe to David. This symbolized taking on the other person’s identity, putting on the other person. When we accept Christ, we enter into a covenant relationship with Him. Jesus takes our robes of humanity, sin, and death. In exchange, He gives us His robe of righteousness. Galatians 3:27 says, “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Believers are clothed and covered in Christ’s blood and righteousness. The word atonement refers to God’s forgiveness. In Hebrew, the word is kaphar, which means “covering over, often with the blood of a sacrifice, in order to atone for some sin. This means that the covering over hides the sin from God” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”
Do you see? While we feel the heavy cloak of shame, Jesus has already exchanged our tattered, filthy robes of sin for His glorious robe of righteousness.
Several years ago, I was weighed down by shame. One day I cried out to God – I wasn’t worthy to be a mother to my children, a wife to my husband, a Sunday school teacher, a writer – anything! A song began to play in my head: “Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name.” And it hit me. No, I’m not worthy. But Jesus is worthy, and He took my place.
When shame says, “You’re not worthy. You’re covered in shame,” you say, “Go away, liar! I’m not worthy, but Jesus is. His blood covers me, so in God’s eyes I’m righteous.”