Archive for May 11th, 2015

Shame off you

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we’ve all heard the phrase, “shame on you.”  when we were a child: “you didn’t clean your room, shame on you.” “you were mean to your little sister, shame on you.”  even as adults, we may not hear it out loud, but it plays in our thoughts:  “you fell back into that bad habit, shame on you.”  “you went through a divorce, shame on you.” we don’t realize how destructive shame is.  we use it to try to convince people to do better, but shame does just the opposite; causes us to feel guilty, unworthy, like we don’t deserve to be blessed.  shame is one of the enemy’s favorite tools; he’s called, “the accuser.”  he’ll remind you of every mistake, every failure, even things that weren’t your fault, he’ll try to deceive you into thinking that you were to blame. people that were abused as a child had no choice in it; he’ll whisper, “you’re not good enough, you deserved it, that’s why they mistreated you.” he’ll try to twist it, and convince you to carry around all this heaviness:  

Psalm 69:20 (NKJV)

20 Reproach has broken my heart,

And I am full of heaviness

but the scripture talks about how God has removed our shame. (NB: I couldn’t find a verse that specifically says that, but I’ve included a few that at least illustrate the concept):

Joshua 5:9 (NLT)

9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.”

Luke 1:25 (NIRV)

25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days, he has been kind to me. He has taken away my shame among the people.

Genesis 30:23 (CEB)

23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my shame.”

whether it was your fault or somebody else’s, you don’t have to carry the heavy load of guilt, beating yourself up, feeling wrong on the inside. when the enemy says, “shame on you,” God says, “shame off you.  I’ve forgiven you, I’ve redeemed you, I’ve made you valuable.” what people did or didn’t do to you, they don’t determine your worth;  your worth comes from your Creator.  the most high God breathed His life into you.  He crowned you with His favor. He calls you a masterpiece. don’t go around ashamed, guilty, condemned; shake off the shame. every time you hear that voice whispering, “shame on you,” by faith you need to hear God answering back, “shame off you.” don’t accept the shame. 

and I’m not saying of course to be flippant, and think, “well, I made a big mistake, I hurt somebody, no big deal.”  no, we should be remorseful, ask for forgiveness, do better next time, but the problem is, if you don’t put your foot down, and say, “shame off me,” then even though God has removed it, that shame will follow you around. it’s more difficult to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive other people. the enemy knows that if we feel wrong on the inside, we’ll never become who we were created to be.  that’s why he works overtime to try to bring guilt, shame, make you feel like you don’t deserve to be blessed. you have to turn off the accusing voices.  you may have made mistakes, but the moment you asked God to forgive you, He not only forgave you, He took it one step further:

Hebrews 10:17 (NIV)

17 … “Their sins and lawless acts

    I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Jeremiah 31:34 (NASB)

34 … declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Isaiah 43:25 (ISV)

25 “I, I am the one

    who blots out your transgression for my own sake,

        and I’ll remember your sins no more

when those thoughts try to remind you of mistakes in the past, saying things like:  “shame on you, you were unfaithful in that relationship,” “shame on you, you were dishonest in the business deal,” “shame on you, you were rude to that family member last month.” you’ve already asked for forgiveness; that means God doesn’t remember it, that’s a sure sign the accuser is at work. you can either accept the shame, feel wrong on the inside, or you can rise up and say, “no, shame off me. I know I’ve been forgiven. I know God’s mercy is bigger than this mistake. if God doesn’t remember it, I’m not going to remember it either.”

when the Israelites had been in slavery in Egypt for many years, they were very beaten-down; not only physically, but emotionally. they were constantly told they were no good, they couldn’t do anything right, they would never measure up. over time, they let that steal their sense of value. they felt inferior, insecure, like they had no self-worth. when a person is being mistreated, abused, especially for a long time, instead of recognizing that the other person is doing them wrong, it’s easy for them to accept the blame and start thinking they deserve what’s happening. before long, they’re not only ashamed of what’s happening, but they start to become ashamed of who they are. that’s the way the Israelites felt; that’s how the enemy twists things. but after 430 years, God brought them out of the slavery, out of the abuse. just as they were about to enter the promised land, God said to them:

Joshua 5:9 (KJV)

9 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.

“reproach” means shame, blame, disgrace. notice, they couldn’t go into the promised land with the shame, feeling unworthy, not valuable; God had to roll away the reproach. in the same way, before you can reach your highest potential, you have to get rid of any shame. you may have made mistakes, people may have done you wrong, but you can’t sit around guilty, condemned, blaming yourself, blaming others. whatever your Egypt is, a divorce, an addiction, somebody that did you wrong, God is saying, “this day”; not tomorrow, not next week, not 6 months from now, today, God is rolling away the reproach. He’s rolling away the guilt, rolling away the shame.  it’s up to you to accept it.  you have to quit dwelling on your failures, quit believing those lies, that you’ve made too many mistakes, you’ve been hurt too badly, no, the reproach has been rolled away. 

when you get up in the morning, and you hear those voices, and they come to all of us, “shame on you,” you have to answer right back, “no, shame off of me. I know my reproach has been taken away.”  maybe you know God has forgiven you, but you still have this sense of unworthiness, like you don’t deserve it, you could never reach your highest potential. that shame has held you back long enough. today, God has removed the reproach, the chains have been broken, burdens have been lifted. God is saying, “shame off of you.” you have to get in agreement; quit listening to the accusing voices, quit believing the lie that you have to settle for second best. nothing you’ve done is a surprise to God. He’s not up in the heavens scratching His head, saying, “man, I didn’t see that last mistake coming, they threw Me off.”  no, God had the mercy before you made the mistake. He had the solution before you had the problem. why don’t you shake off the shame, the guilt? this is a new day; the reproach has been rolled away.

don’t let one negative event become your identity. don’t let one failure, divorce, bankruptcy, addiction, become who you are. it’s easy to take all the blame, let it consume you; before long, you become known as the man who blew his marriage, the woman that was abused, the young person that has the addiction. no, that’s what you did, that’s not who you are. that’s what happened to you, that is not your identity. the enemy would love to stick these labels on us: addicted, unfaithful, divorced, bad parent. don’t believe those lies. you may struggle with an addiction, but you are not an addict. what you do does not change your identity; you are still a child of the most high God. you may have failed in some area of your life, we all have, but you’re not a failure. you may have had some bad breaks, but you are not a victim. when those thoughts of guilt and shame try to relabel you, you have to remind yourself: “I am not who people say I am. I am not who circumstances say I am. I am who God says I am. God says I am approved, I am accepted, I am valuable, I am a masterpiece.”

in the scripture, names had a lot more meaning and significance than they have today. Isaac had a son, and he named him Jacob; “Jacob” means trickster, swindler, deceiver. every time someone said, “hello, Jacob,” they were saying, “hello trickster.”  “good morning, Jacob”;  “good morning, con man.”  “it’s time to go to school, Jacob”;  “it’s time to go to school, cheater.”  he had heard this so long, he didn’t know any better; he became exactly what people called him.  for years he was told, “you’re a con man”; he conned his brother Esau out of his inheritance. “you’re a cheater”; he cheated his uncle, went around tricking people.  later in life, Jacob got tired of living like that. one night, he went down to the brook to get alone with God. an angel appeared unto him in the form of a man:

Genesis 32:27 (ISV)

27 Then the man asked him, “What’s your name?”

“Jacob,” he responded

he was saying, “I am a cheater, I am a deceiver, I am dishonest.” the angel didn’t say, “you’re right, Jacob, you’ve lived a really terrible life, you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” the angel said:

Genesis 32:28 (NIV)

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel

he was saying, “you are not a deceiver. you may have let people talk you into that, but that is not your true identity.” Israel means; Prince with God. God took this man that had lived a life of dishonesty, gone around cheating people, and instead of giving him what he deserved, instead of shaking his finger and saying, “shame on you, Jacob,” God said, “shame off you, Jacob. you’re My son. I have destined you to leave your mark on your generation.  not in disgrace, not as a failure; I’ve called you to be a prince, to reign in life.”  first thing God had to do was remove the reproach. God had to get the shame off of him.

are you wearing any negative labels today? have you let circumstances, failures, or even people put a label on you that says, “not valuable, not worthy, addicted, bad parent, blew his marriage, didn’t raise his children right, doesn’t deserve to be blessed?” this is what grace is all about; none of us deserve it, but God says, “I’m going to bless you anyway. I know your true identity, I breathed My life into you.”  you may feel like Jacob; you made some poor choices, you could easily live with that sense of shame. but God in effect is changing our names today to prince, to princess, to redeemed, to forgiven, to highly favored people. Jacob could’ve easily told the angel, “I don’t see how God could ever make me a prince, I’ve made so many bad choices.” no, he accepted it into his spirit.  he agreed with what God said. in fact, he told the angel:

Genesis 32:26 (NIV)

26 … But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

he was saying, “I may not deserve it, but since the shame has been rolled away, I’m asking for favor, new levels, the fullness of my destiny.” God didn’t say, “Jacob, who do you think you are?  I’m not going to bless you, you know the life you’ve lived.” God said, “Jacob, I like your boldness. I like the fact that you shook off the shame, got rid of the guilt.  now, you’re ready to step up to who I’ve created you to be.”  you live like that, God will bless you in amazing ways. even if you’re still struggling in area, there is no shame to ask for help.  sometimes, we think we’re supposed to be perfect, we can’t let anybody know we have a bad habit, an addiction, this struggle, we’d be embarrassed.  no, don’t let shame keep you isolated. real healing begins when we get honest. the scripture says:

James 5:16 (MEV)

16 Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

some things you can’t overcome on your own; you need somebody to stand in faith with you. I’m not saying that you have to announce it, but you can find a person that you can trust to walk with you through it.  there’s something about getting it out in the open; don’t let the fear of what other people think keep you from your miracle. I’ve learned, everybody is dealing with something; the people that you think have it all together, look fine on the outside, they’re good at pretending. everyone has issues. it’s easy to hide things, and only let people see what we want them to see. the same person that comes to church on Sunday, waves to you so friendly, on Monday if you cut them off in traffic, they may wave to you with one finger in the air; the other person comes out.

even in the scripture, some of the heroes of faith, they all had their weaknesses. one day, Peter was preaching to thousands, telling a crippled man to rise and walk; another day, he was cursing people out, denying that he knew Jesus. one day, David was defeating a giant, leading God’s people; another day, he was committing adultery, having the lady’s husband killed.  he was so ashamed of himself, he tried to hide it for a year. he finally got it out in the open, confessed his faults, and God restored him. one day, Noah was building an ark, saving his family; another day, he was getting drunk, running around naked.

you think you have issues? you have nothing to be ashamed of. here’s another thought; most likely, the things you’re struggling with, didn’t start with you, they were passed down. now this is your opportunity to put an end to it; you can be the one to break the negative cycle in your family. the first step;  shake off the shame. don’t be embarrassed. don’t try to hide it;  you don’t have to go through life pretending.  if you’ll get honest, go to God and ask Him for help, find a friend to stick with you in the faith, you can overcome anything that’s holding you back. the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. the enemy loves to heap on the guilt, the shame; he knows it will keep us from our destiny.  when you shake off the shame, God will take your scars and turn them into stars.  He will use you to help others. maybe you’re struggling in an area right now; the next time you hear that voice whispering, “shame on you,” instead of believing that lie, beating yourself up, getting depressed, why don’t you rise up and say, “no, shame off me”?

if you’ll start shaking off the guilt, the shame, then you can enter into your promised land. that’s when you’ll see the healing, the breakthroughs, the new levels. some people are living with a sense of shame because of something that happened that wasn’t even their fault;  they were mistreated growing up, somebody took advantage of them.  the way the enemy twists things, he’ll to try to convince you it was your fault, you deserved it, if you would’ve been better that wouldn’t have happened. don’t believe those lies; you can’t help how someone treated you when you were younger. if they did you wrong, the problem wasn’t with you, it was with them. God said that He will be your vindicator. God saw what happened, He saw the injustice. you may think, “nobody knows what I’ve endured, the hurt, the shame, the pain,” but God knows. He saw every person that lifted a finger against you.  He saw every lonely night, every tear, every hurt.  God said:

Isaiah 54:4 (AMP)

4 … For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach

God is going to pay you back for that injustice in such a way that you don’t even remember what happened. it’s not going to be on the forefront of your mind. He’s going to make your life so blessed, so rewarding, so fulfilling, you won’t even think about those people that hurt you.  now do your part; forgive the people that did you wrong. as long as you continue to dwell on it, you are allowing them to continue to hurt you. let it go. what they did did not change your identity.  you’re still a masterpiece, you’re still wearing a crown a favor, you’re still destined to do great things. why don’t you take off the old labels that say damaged, mistreated, abused? put on some new labels: accepted, approved, valuable, masterpiece. when you do that, God promises, you will not only forget the shame of your past, but He takes it a step further; in Isaiah 61, He said:

Isaiah 61:7 (AMP) 

7 Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]

you may have had some unfair things happen, but stay in faith; because of that injustice, God is going to pay you back double.  because of what happened, the person that walked out and broke your heart, the people that mistreated you, made you feel ashamed, that did not go unnoticed; God saw it, and He’s going to pay you back with double the joy, double the peace, double the honor, double the fulfillment. your life is going to be richer because of, or in spite of, that injustice. 

now this promise won’t do us any good if we sit back ashamed, guilty, beating ourselves up. put your shoulders back, hold your head up high; nothing that was done to you, nothing that you’ve done, has changed your identity. you’re still a child of the most high God.  His plans for you are still for good and not evil. you may have had some bad breaks, but really, those setbacks were a set up for God to bring you out with double.

are you carrying around any guilt, shame, heaviness? friends, this is your day to be free. the reproach has been rolled away. the door is open, but you have to walk out of it. take off the negative labels. when the enemy whispers, “shame on you,” answer right back, “no, shame off me. I’ve been forgiven, redeemed, I am valuable.” if you will do this, every chain is being broken. God is going to pay you back double for that injustice.  you’re going to enter into your promised land, and become everything God’s created you to be.

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