It struck me one day that the phrase ‘despising the shame’ is rather unexpected in the middle of this verse. Despising means pushing something away. Why would Jesus push shame away from Him?
Shame is a God given emotion that tells us we are guilty (See Jeremiah 3:25 for an example). Its purpose is to bring us to repentance, restoration of ‘rightness’ with God and therefore to peace and dignity. On the cross Jesus willingly took, once and for all time, our sin, our guilt and all the associated shame. So why does this verse say He despised shame? Is there another sort of shame?
After a while it occurred to me that the shame He refused to carry was the shame that those who had publicly humiliated and degraded Him wanted Him to feel and to be crushed by. The shame rightly belonged to those who had sinned by their abusive actions toward Jesus. If they had owned their sin they could have been forgiven by Jesus, the Saviour. But as a man, He despised the shame which rightly belonged to their sin and guilt and which they wanted Him to feel. He refused to feel ashamed because of what they had done. This shame is the sort that is ‘dumped’ on the victim of abuse by perpetrators who will not acknowledge their own guilt.
So how can you deal with this ‘dumped’ shame? The solution is simple. If it wasn’t my sin, then it isn’t my shame. I will have to forgive the ones who sinned against me but I must also ‘despise the shame’ that is not mine to carry, just as Jesus did. This spiritual shedding of the shame is achieved by my decision to spiritually give back to the abusers what truly belongs to them even if they are far away or it was all long ago. This brings God’s truth into the situation. Jesus can then lift off me the heavy cloak of ‘dumped’ shame and bring healing to the pain and sense of embarrassment and exposure from the past situation. Jesus can raise me up from the place of past shame he is the ‘lifter of my head’ (Psalm 3:3).
Prayer: Father, help me to face the truth of past situations that have made me carry the weight of someone else’s guilt and shame. I want to learn to despise this shame as Jesus did, so I can lift my head to see into your loving and healing eyes. I ask it in Jesus name, Amen.
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