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     The man and his wife were both naked and felt no shame.  Gen. 2:25

     Gracious Father, it’s nearly impossible for me to imagine the day when there was no need for the emotion of shame. In their innocence, our first parents were absolutely free of any need to turn away from your gaze, or that of one another. Embarrassment wasn’t even a reality, much less shame.

     There was no need to fear, cover up, hide, pose, pretend, get defensive, feel guilty, make excuses, blame the other, want to disappear, do penance, numb out, medicate, or try any other broken attempt to deal with the disintegrating effects of shame. What a blessed state of affairs…

     But now, it’s only in you, Jesus, that we now find hope to deal with both our guilt and our shame. For in light of the joy set before you by the Father, you endured the agony of the cross for us, scorning its shame—that in you, we might become the righteousness of God (Heb. 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:21). Hallelujah, many times over.

     Indeed, Jesus, those who trust in you will never be put to shame, for you took our shame and made it yours (1 Pet. 2:6). Now we live in the perpetual favor and unabated delight of God. How can we ever praise you enough for such love? This is our theology; make it our doxology—wing this good news from our heads to our hearts, Lord.

     So we cry out for greater freedom today in our ongoing struggles with shame—both the shame we carry and the shame we give. Though our guilt has been completely exhausted of by your work on the cross, Jesus, shame dogs us and haunts us, and we act out in a variety of destructive—vacillating vacillate between self-contempt and other-centered contempt.

     Indeed, we need the freedom you alone can provide, Jesus. Bring the grace and truth of the gospel to bear in profoundly healing and liberating ways. How we long for the Day when, once again, we will be completely free from every semblance of shame. Until that Day, you are our perfect righteousness and trustworthy hope. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.

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