Did you ever notice how shame feels like being stripped totally naked and paraded in front of all the people you highly regard OR it feels like a nasty, bug infested, wet, wool blanket draped over you from head to toe?
Either way, shame is one of the worst emotional experiences ever.
It doesn’t matter what sin, mistake, or misunderstanding caused the shame; the result is the same. You want to crawl into a hole, curl up into a ball, and die quickly.
For those who’ve suffered sexual or verbal abuse, the naked feeling can last a lifetime.
Scripture tells us that Jesus took our shame to the cross.
To me, this seems a little confusing
How could one man carry the sin and shame of all people for all time? Just the emotional overload would kill you before you ever made it to the site of a crucifixion.
Even the severe beating, thorny crown on the head, and a crucifixion culminating in a sword thrust into the side of Jesus doesn’t seem enough to pay for sin and shame.
After all, other men have been beaten and crucified. What made the death of Jesus different from all other experiences of death?
His death WAS different
If only viewed in the physical, His death is no different from other tragic deaths. Yet, those other deaths didn’t accomplish what this death did.
Besides all the physically gore, Jesus experienced stuff we can’t see. The weight of shame. The guilt of sin. The condemnation of a life lived apart from God.
All invisible stuff, but just as real as the physical experience of crucifixion. And far more painful.
Jesus was a sinless man who had never experienced guilt or condemnation.
He got hit with ALL OF IT at one specific place and time in history. Every single piece of garbage that ever darkened the soul of each and every person who ever lived, or will live, was placed upon his shoulders.
Scripture says He became sin for us (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). He became the garbage. It was the only way He could destroy death, condemnation, guilt, and shame.
This was His mission—to become sin and carry our garbage into Hell so we wouldn’t have to. Hell was created to be the garbage dump of sin. It was never created for purity. To get into Hell, Purity had to become Sin.
The cosmic sized garbage bag of sin and shame was put to death along with the shoulders it rested upon. The garbage stayed in the grave. The man with the shoulders didn’t.
That’s the key
The sinless man, who became sin for us, descended into hell, dumped the garbage on the floor and walked out.
Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. Our garbage did.
Now every single person has the choice of how he wants to do death. We can choose to do death clothed in all our garbage or clothed in garments of purity.
If we choose to ignore the garbage, think we can handle it on our own or consider it normal attire, we’ll end up in the garbage place still dressed in our garbage.
Those that choose to get rid of the garbage by giving it to Jesus, don’t ever go to the garbage place. They just instantly transition into life… eternal life.
So why do we continue to carry garbage around?
I find myself marinating in condemnation and shame far more often than I care to admit.
Perhaps because it’s familiar. I don’t recognize it as death. It’s just there… a part of my day.
Until the Spirit gives me a nudge, and I realize that I’m walking in death. Like some sort of spiritual zombie.
Life is my DNA, not death!
Once again, I go to the Cross and leave my garbage there. After all, it belongs to Him. He bought and paid for it all with his blood.
Then Jesus wraps me in His arms and speaks His words of life into my soul.
Easter holds more meaning for me every time I face my shame and give it to the one who became sin for me.
Like you, I want my legacy to tell the story of a Redeemer who exchanged my garbage for His purity.