"Shame is like a bandit," explained Pastor Forthright. "You all know him well. He's the thief that steals your joy, the bad guy that dumps salt in your lemonade, the hijacker that kidnaps your happily ever after. He's the ulcer in your stomach, the germ in your gelato, the chicken in your pox, the crazed farmer that doesn't know a talking chicken from a real one." He paused. "God knows where that last idea came from."
A long buried film clip suddenly flashed onto the screen of Jane's frontal lobe: The evil farmer. The talking chicken. The stabbing pain. The pox.
She frowned. How did this man know the chicken story when she hadn't told anyone about it, not even Rachel? Had he spoken to her mother? Or to Rachel's parents? Perhaps her mother had told Rachel's parents and then Rachel's parents had told the pastor and...
Whatever the source, that chicken comment glued her eyes to his. She cranked the volume on her inner ear, drinking in his every word. Which was basically as follows:
Shame is the result of SIN (short for Self-INterest, i.e. man's INborn tendency to turn INward, away from God. Sin is like a big blemish, marring God's otherwise perfect creation. It starts out small - with a little seed of doubt, which when planted grows into a mountain. As the first people on earth quickly discovered.
Without doubt God created man in His image to be full of faith, naked but not ashamed. Then Satan came in the form of a snake, looping coils of doubt 'round the fruit God said don't touch.
"It's not selfish ish ish," he hissed to the chick (meaning Eve).
"Not selfish ish ish to dismiss iss iss..."
Not selfish to dismiss?
"Not selfish ish ish to dismiss iss iss the Father's wish ish ish."
Not selfish to dismiss the Father's wish?
The fangs hissed a sizzling spit, dripping an eerie light on the golden lust.
Bottom line: SHE bit it, HE bit it, snake SPIT it.
The fruit they ate
The two with spray
That said, "You'll pay!"
Boils on their skin
Revealed the sin
Fig leaves unmasked
Took them to task
They ran from Shame
Right to Blame Game
"Surely not I!"
Each guilty flaw
Pinned to the law
Of sin and death
With every breath
Results in shame
And lots of blame,
It's not a game
Sin's penalty, eternal shame,
Gives no escape from the Blaming Game
Only shed blood gets rid of sin.
It has to be pure, it must come from Him
The blood of Jesus, God's Only Son,
Was perfectly pure; He didn't sin once
His blood was pure. He never sinned. Here is what Shame did to him:
He spit in his face,
Saying, "What a disgrace!"
Plucked the hairs of His beard,
Called him "chicken" and "weird,"
Blindfolded each eye,
Said "Who hit you? Prophesy!"
Shame's own screwed up horns
Pierced God's head with sharp thorns
Using sarcastic quips,
Beat His back with harsh whips
Cast lots for his clothes,
Said "Give ME one of those!"
Nailed his hands and his feet
So the shame was complete.
But Christ crushed Satan's head
When He rose from the dead!
For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, DESPISING ITS SHAME.
Wow! What a lot to think about! Strange how it warmed Jane's heart. Up until that night she wasn't even sure whether or not God existed. But now she was forced to rethink everything she believed. Or didn't believe.
The pastor was giving an invitation. "Anyone who would like to give their life to Christ, letting His blood wash away both their sin AND shame, please come forward and we will pray for you. I'll be up front waiting, along with ten elders. This is very important: don't leave tonight without getting free from Shame. JESUS TOOK YOUR SHAME. But you must make a choice. Will you receive God's gift of freedom or be ashamed of him? running? If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."
He's right, thought Jane. I need this gift. But... If I go forward, I'm ashamed to have them see me. Ashamed of what they'll think of me. But why? What does it matter what they think?
Freedom was knocking. On her door. Begging to come in. She knew she wanted it. Knew she had to have it. The only problem was, she didn't have the nerve.