Adults speak it over children. Religious leaders speak it over their own followers. Political leaders do the same. Many of us speak it over ourselves as we accept years of judgment and cultural conditioning.
These words are not from God. God isn’t shaming us. Satan is, however, in order to separate us from God into shame and darkness.
“Do not be ashamed!” is Paul’s theme in the following Scripture passage (abridged). See if you can find the three (or four) times he writes about not being ashamed.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News…
“That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return…
“May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.” (2 Timothy 1:7–18, NLT)
Did you find the “do ashamed” references?
The first one is, “so never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him.” This helps Timothy the young man whom Paul is writing.
It may be tough to remain unashamed when people accusingly ask Timothy, “Why is you leader, Paul, rotting in jail? I thought he knew God? Your God must be very weak.” Paul bolsters Timothy by reminding him that the gospel involves suffering, rejection, and looking foolish in the world’s eyes at times.
The second one is about Paul himself. He writes. “I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust…”
If you are in a situation where you may feel foolish and ashamed, heed Paul’s words. Get closer to Jesus.
Knowing Jesus, the one who suffered the ultimate shame of the cross, but who did so without being ashamed, is our inspiration. (Hebrews 12:2) Paul was not ashamed as he sat in jail because he knew Jesus suffered and won. Paul knew he would too.
The third instance is about Onesiphorus, who, like Timothy, is a friend of Paul. Paul brags about him, “He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.”
Likewise, the Lord has people around us who are not ashamed of us even when shame surrounds us. If you feel ashamed watch for them. They are the true Jesus’ people.
“Giv’m heaven!”—John Parker
First published in The Chowchilla News “Pastor’s Commentary” by John Parker for Wednesday, August 3, 2016