Freedom from Shame: A Christian Perspective


The architect who designed the original Twin Towers at the World Trade Centre found himself working in a high rise overlooking the site.  Then 9/11 happened, and every day he had to go into work and look out over the devastation.  He was consumed with the thought, “How could I have given people even fifteen minutes more before the towers collapsed?”  He just couldn’t forgive himself.

forgive_yourself-300x166Shame — a painful feeling about one’s self as a person — is the most paralyzing of emotions.

In my experience the one challenge that is harder than forgiving someone who has hurt you is the challenge to forgive yourself.

When Jesus dies on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins, he lets loose the power of forgiveness into the world.

In the resurrection of Jesus, God has reset the entire way in which we comprehend who God is and how God works.  It’s a new life, a new way of being.  And the first mark of this new life is that sin is freely forgiven.

Not that sin wasn’t forgiven in the past.  A gracious God forgives sins often in the Hebrew scriptures.  Jesus forgives sins freely, so Jesus didn’t need to die to make forgiveness real.

Perhaps what the resurrection does is to free us

  • to forgive

  • from what stops us from wanting to be forgiven!

Jesus’ resurrection exposes the obstacles that keep us from wanting the sins of others to be forgiven and overthrows the powers that keep us from wanting our sins to be forgiven.

We think of forgiveness as an exception — it’s newsworthy when a parent forgives the killer of his child, for instance.  But in the post Easter creation, forgiveness is the norm, not the exception.

You have been invited out of this world where you are counting how many times people have sinned AND you have been invited out of this world where you are ashamed of all your own sins — All that is put to the side in this new way of Christian community.

Forgive to Open Yourself to God’s Forgiveness

Perhaps what the resurrection can teach us is that the practice of forgiveness opens in us the ability to repent.  You forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, and then you find you can look at your own life and not be shamed by your bad habits, bad choices, bad sins — but be freed from them!

How do you extend the Easter celebration? — Wear the marks of a resurrection life!  And the first of those marks is forgiveness.


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