Just for kicks, let’s talk about how we fall short. Because we do. We don’t meet God’s standards. We miss the mark all the time. We hurt others. We say things we shouldn’t. We ride the hot mess express often. How’s that for a warm and fluffy devotion?
Too many shame scenes could play on repeat in my mind if I let them. I remember yelling at my kids once—like crazy-lady-losing-it style—only to turn around and see my husband watching wide-eyed. His whole face just saying, “Really?”
I had crossed a serious line with my kids. And not only that, I was caught in the very act. Talk about shame! We all have plenty of these stories, where the ugliest parts of ourselves take over and we do and say what we don’t want to be doing and saying. We’ve fallen short. Again.
And if you’re like me, there are three ways we think about and handle our shame:
1. Shame is unacceptable and we ought to be rejected for it. The only way to escape rejection is to hide our shame underneath perfectionism, people-pleasing, or some other shame-control method.
2. Shame is actually not shameful, so let’s celebrate it and have at it! We see this mind-set played out in our culture often. Yet the celebration doesn’t make it go away. No matter how hard we try, we can’t convince our hearts that the broken pieces of ourselves are actually okay.
3. Shame can have love written across it. This is the Kingdom mentality of dealing with shame, where we trust and understand that Jesus looks at our shame, sees it for exactly what it is, and writes love over it instead.
This is where today’s Scripture speaks such good news to our hearts: because what makes grace so amazing is not our striving for perfection or plastic smile or perfectly arranged table or well-manicured social media page. That’s not grace looking good. That’s us dressing up and trying to earn acceptance.
What makes grace look so amazing on us is understanding our need for rescue, acknowledging our fallen nature, and comprehending our failures, knowing we are justified by God’s grace as a gift. Justification means our guilt and the penalty of our sin have been removed, while at the same time, we’ve been given right standing with God through Jesus’ sacrifice.
You may need to reread that last sentence. God’s grace takes away our shame and gives us a permanent right standing instead. And that looks amazing on us.
Grace Reflection: Think about how God has looked your most shameful choices square in the face and not only removed your punishment but embraced you in love. He has given you a right standing and a position as His beloved that cannot be taken away. Thank Him for these gifts of grace.