Friday, February 10, 2012

Embarrassed but Not Defeated

and I said, "O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. (Ezra 9:6 NAS)

EmbarrassedIt was the last Friday before the winter break, and every student was getting riled up. The teachers were not making much effort to get the students to pay attention, so Sue opened her laptop and started surfing the Internet. After a while, Sue came upon a social network group dedicated to a ‘super hot’ male teacher at her school.

“Hey, did you see the Facebook group called ‘I have a crush on Mr. Wilson’?” Sue asked her classmate. “I just joined it!”

Her classmate began laughing hysterically, so Sue turned around and realized Mr. Wilson was standing over her shoulder. Embarrassed, Sue thought to herself, at least he has the holidays to forget the fact I have a crush on him.

The story of Sue (not her real name) is adapted from a true account shared by a teenage girl at Like Sue, many of us probably have experienced embarrassing moments in our lives. We may laugh or feel shy over such experiences, but we seldom can forget them because embarrassment can be shameful and sometimes painful, especially if we are caught doing what we should not.

Staying aboveboard and blameless at all times is never easy. Even as Christians, we may at times be caught doing the things that put our Lord’s name in vain. What is important however is—are we willing to come clean before God when we fail, even if our sin is not found out?

King David tried to hide his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, but God confronted him through the prophet, Nathan (2 Samuel 11-12). David then said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13). If we have done something wrong, do we wait till we are confronted before we repent?

When the people of Israel with the priests and Levites failed to separate themselves from the abominations of the people of the lands, Ezra fell on his knees and stretched out his hands to the LORD. Ezra said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens” (Ezra 9:1, 5-6). Like Ezra, do we have the heart to feel ashamed for our sins, and the sins of our fellow men or loved ones?

The apostle Peter denied the Lord three times when he was recognized by a few people as being of Christ (Luke 22:55-62). Are we at times embarrassed or ashamed to be known as Christians? Peter was in remorse immediately after he realized his mistake. Are we remorseful for our wrongdoings or are we repentant only because we have been found out?

What if our misdeeds are discovered by many people or caught on a video and posted on the Internet? What would we do if that happens? Would we try to justify ourselves or simply resign ourselves to shame? Peter repented and was restored by the Lord when he confessed his love for Jesus (John 21:15-17). What about us?

Jesus said, “whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

Let us not be ashamed of the Lord or the gospel, for in Him and in His word is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Let us instead be always prepared for the purpose of God that we may not suffer needless shame or embarrassment (2 Timothy 4:2; 2 Corinthians 9:3-4).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times when we dishonor You by our wrongdoings. Help us turn back to You immediately Lord once we know we have sinned, rather than wait to be confronted before repenting. Restore us Lord and remove our guilt as we confess our sins and repent. Do not let us resign to our own shame O Lord, but lift us up and renew us that we will quickly get over our old sinful ways and move on in closer walk with You.

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