Rev. Bruce Modahl
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me. Psalm 31:1
After Andrew Gillum lost the Florida governor’s race in 2018, his life fell apart. During rehab he wrote in an Instagram post, “Shame is like kudzu.”
If you have lived or driven in the south, you will have seen vast expanses of trees and undergrowth covered in layers of kudzu vines. Kudzu suffocates everything underneath its tendrils. Shame is like that. It smothers us.
The psalmist, in verses 11-13, describes the source of his shame. His friends have deserted him. People go the other way when they see him. Friends and strangers alike mock him with a humiliating nickname. Unnamed foes plot to kill him.
Shame turns inward to oppress us. It turns outward in resentment, even hatred for those who shamed us. Shame’s tendrils bite deep into us. Jesus assumed it on our behalf. Jesus came to un-shame the shamed. His family questioned his sanity. He was betrayed by one friend and deserted by the others. The Roman authorities entertained the crowds by beating him. He endured the shame of the cross.
He willingly bore our shame and left it behind in the grave when God raised him from the tomb. He is the righteous one who delivers us. He covers us with his righteousness. We make good use of Christ’s benefits when we hand our shame and resentment to him.
Unburdened from our shame and resentments, the Holy Spirit calls us to be Christ’s agents in the world, directing the shamed and those who do the shaming to the cross of Jesus.
Heavenly Father, we give our shame and resentment to your Son. We give you thanks for the new life you give us in his resurrection. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.