Wear a What?
Here I am staring at a wig. I can remember the last time I wore a wig—it was during the performance of a madrigal dinner in high school. It seemed strange then. Feels even stranger now. But “strange” is not really the word I want to use. It’s really embarrassing. No, even better, shameful. Shame is the sense we have when we believe others will ridicule us, will think less of us, and ultimately will not want to be near us. My shame is prompted by my sense that others will see me as a source of amusement. My shame is the reason I told my wife I would not take a picture. By the time you are reading this I’ve worn my wig. No need to worry, it went well. I am also confident the shame I anticipated was far more significant in my mind than was warranted, and if wearing a wig helped the children appreciate the story of the prodigal son during Vacation Bible School, then I am glad I wore it. The shame we often feel goes much deeper, and it lasts longer. The first time shame appears in the Bible, Adam and Eve rebelled against God, he came into the Garden, and they “hid themselves from the Lord.” They were not hiding just their nakedness, they were hiding because they knew they had offended God and they wanted to run from him. We feel the same significance of our sin when we sense separation from our Creator— and therefore shame can, in some instances, be helpful. But we can also use shame to harm others. We might tell our spouse or children they are a disappointment. Or we might bring up an embarrassing story time and again. Or we might point out a physical or personal characteristic in a way that seeks to harm another. When we sense that shame, we might react by running from others. If others have hurt us, we don’t want to be near them. Here is the good news about our relationship with God. When we are in Jesus Christ there is no reason to be ashamed (1 John 1:28). Jesus took our shame upon himself—dying naked to undo our first parents’ response to their Creator in the Garden. Even though you might sense a need to be ashamed, and others might seek to harm you by pointing out your shortcomings, your faults, your sins, our God does not view us as perpetual failures. Instead, he has committed to remake us (Eph. 2:10). God has proved our shame has been overcome in his Son, and therefore we can draw near to him in confidence (Heb. 4:16).