Jesus’ Cure For Shame

I’ll never forget being in Israel and getting up before dawn one morning to sit on a rock beside the Sea of Galilee. As the waves gently lap at my feet I imagine Jesus calling the fishermen Peter, Andrew, James, and John at that very spot. “Come, follow me,” Jesus says, “and I will make you fishers of men and women.” Immediately, they follow him! (Mark 1:16-20)

Why immediately? I wondered. (That always seemed mystical in weird way that I couldn’t relate to.)

Sitting at the water’s edge in the dark it’s cold and I’m shivering. I’m really eager for a warm sunrise.

I use my body’s desire for sunshine to express my heart’s desire for devoted discipleship to Christ. Yes, Jesus, I want to follow you like your first disciples! Call me to follow you Lord! Choose me!

Finally, the sun rises! Just then I hear Jesus’ call, “Come, follow me!” I sense the Spirit of Jesus warm my heart as I realize, That’s why the fisherman immediately jumped to follow Jesus! They were already longing to be his disciples!

Why Would Jesus Choose Fishermen?

Fisherman in the first century had a rough life. It was hard work sailing, casting nets, waiting and watching all night, hauling in fish, cleaning the fish. It was extremely dangerous to sail their little wooden fishing boats on  seas that get sudden storms.

They were considered lowly and odd. They slept in the day and worked at night. They were poor. They smelled like fish!

Rabbi’s were the elite in Israel and they never chose fishermen to be their disciples. Fishermen hung out on the fringes of the community. They belonged with “the sinners.”

Why would Jesus choose the scum of society to be his leaders?

Because sometimes you and I feel lowly and left out.

Your Soul Needs to Breathe!

Shame is feeling “I am bad and unwanted.” It’s related to but much worse than guilt, which is feeling “I did something bad.” Shame is feeling “I am bad.” You feel judged and rejected. You’ve lost your human dignity and worth.

So in fear you hide your true self from people and God.

This protects you from receiving more condemnation — but it cuts you off from love. 

Our culture tries to cure shame with cheery advice: “Love yourself… Focus on your strengths… Give yourself a chance to succeed… Let’s party… Eliminate the concept of sin…”

These are empty reassurances that don’t work. They don’t heal our deep pain, they don’t meet our real need for bonding with God. Disconnected from God’s love we can’t breathe.

Shame can suffocate your soul.

Bill & Kristi Gaultiere in IsraelJesus’ Cure For Shame

On our 2007 trip to Israel Kristi and I visited the City of David and our souls sang by his harp! We led our group of pilgrims — not “tourists”! — in being a Christ-centered, authentic community. We shared our feelings and prayers.

This two-fold way of being together is the only cure for shame: (1) Participate in emotionally honest and compassionate relationships and (2) Delight in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Like the first fishermen disciples of Christ, we all can find healing and freedom from shame in the community of the transfigured face. Because “Those who look to the LORD are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5)

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