Shame is Only Embarrassing If We Allow It To Be
Though our paths never crossed before, we shared a multitude of friends. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you will, K and I met at a bar throwing back whiskey shots chased with pickle juice shooters (AKA picklebacks). She was a gorgeous midwestern gal trying to find her way, and I was a hot and sweaty mess, lost as could be. As she’ll tell you, she grew up ‘the good girl,” who wondered what life on the other side of the tracks was like. Much later, and to her dismay, she found out it wasn’t all that great. Meeting at the crossroads, we hit it off.
Neither of us could have imagined where love would take us.
I walked up to her dressed as a man, but appearing somewhat like a child. Anchored by a thread snaked through the belt loop above the back pocket of my jeans, a balloon floated above me reading, “It’s a boy!” Not only was it funny, it was functional. The balloon served as a line of site locator when I was out of view. Because when I drank myself into embarrassed stupors, I wandered off unnoticed - many times walking great distances just to avoid embarrassment. Back then, we didn’t have easily accessible ride shares or taxis where we lived. But even if we did, I still would have probably done it the hard way. What can I say? Some people learn the hard way - don’t be some people like me.
Though that balloon sailed away long ago, my tendency to run and hide has not. In moments of shame, I wander down paths of darkness traversing great lengths to remain unknown. Out of feelings of embarrassment, I allow sin to rob my voice. In silence, a lack of confession starves my relationship with God and in self preservation, I drift. Isolated, I allow the current of life to pull me away. Wanting to regain ground but unwilling to sacrifice my pride, I sink to depths not meant for anyone and suffocate. Without confession, I drown.
In the same way loose lips sink ships, a lack of confession sinks our spiritual battleships.
Unlike the balloon beacon, those around us cannot know where we are at - know how we are doing - unless we resolve to genuine and honest communication. Whether we’ve been battling the same sin struggle for the last decade or we’re gaining new ground in areas previously unfought, we are biblically obligated to invite others into our battle with us. As someone who spent the better part of his life trying to be a lone ranger, I can tell you, hand to hand combat with sin is tiring. On our own, we may win daily battles. However, independently, we will not win the war. The scriptures encourage us to call in the calvary through confession:
13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and turns away from his sins will find compassion and mercy.
14 Blessed and favored by God is the man who fears [sin and its consequence] at all times,
But he who hardens his heart [and is determined to sin] will fall into disaster.
Proverbs 28:13-14 (AMP)
No matter how far our season of drift may have taken us, God’s love brings us back. One day or two decades, His love anchors us and invites us into His presence. Even when we feel lifetimes away from God, confession coupled with repentance, bridges the gap. There is no place He is not quick to invade when we are honest about where we are at. Bitter because a spouse has not lived up to our expectations? Frustrated because the kids are running amuck? Tired and beatdown of the endless job search with no hope in site? Relapsed two weeks ago but everyone thinks your doing fine?
In moments like these, we can sit and stew, slide and drift Or…we can phone a friend, confess our bitterness, and actively make amends by walking in repentance. Is this a scary thought? Out of practice honesty can be scary. However, with diligent follow through it becomes easier to admit our position in relation to the cross. When we acknowledge our need for Jesus, we openly admit we cannot do life alone. When we fail to confess our sins, we make ourselves out to be liars:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:5-10 (NIV)
Because there are only two kingdoms, Earth’s & Heaven’s - when we fail to expose sin, we protect the dominion of darkness. In secrecy, we allow our flesh to thrive. But exposed by confession, sin shrivels like vampires exposed to sunlight. Out in the open, sin dies. If anything at all, what and why are you hiding?
Recently, this song helped encourage me to step into the light by confessing the darkness I was walking within. I pray it would help you too.
In Your Corner,