"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible — and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:8-13
I'd read this verse, "It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." and I'd hear, "You are disobedient, out of control. If people really knew who you are - how you turn to food for comfort and throw up, how you get frustrated at your kids, how you don't REALLY love people - they would reject you and God rejects you. You can't get to God because you'll never get it right and God isn't fooled." I would sink in a pit - feeling condemned, unworthy, and hopeless. Shame kept me in hiding, terrified of punishment. I begged God for help and forgiveness, feeling so guilty that I kept disappointing Him. I didn't know His love, thinking I was too messed up to receive it. I tried so hard to do "what pleases the Lord" in my own strength, but I would fall again and again and be so ashamed. I could never measure up.
As I was listening to 'Worthy is the Lamb', the line "bearing all my sin & SHAME, in love He came..." rung loud and clear in my ears and my heart. Jesus took my shame! God knew that I would never be good enough - I had no hope of ever even being close. So He provided a way, because He wants to be close to ME! Because of Him, I am whole and 'enough as I am'. So I never have to fear the Light again. When I am afraid and want to hide, Jesus whispers softly in my ear, "Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30
I just say, "Yes, Lord Jesus, take me with You. I want to walk with You. I want to be close to You" And we walk together. He watches as I skip and dance and fall and totally look a fool, but He just smiles and helps me up again and again. When I lose my way, He brings me back. He never scolds me, just gently leads me. He is pleased with my company and looks at me with delight, I'm His girl!
His Voice is gentle and kind, unlike the Enemy's. So when Scripture is twisted to make me feel guilty and hopeless, I know that is NOT My Savior, My Redeemer. That is the Enemy and I don't have to play his blame/shame game. I just come boldly into the Light and Darkness flees. The Light removes my shame and guilt, it heals and redeems, and makes me new, alive, and radiant. So even when I fall, I do not have to live under the weight of shame, all I have to do is come into the Light to be healed and loved again. Truly, "What pleases the Lord", is an honest, open heart.
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame."