Shame is an ugly word. It reminds me of embarrassment, humiliation, disgrace, remorse, and sorrow.
Shame is heavy. It’s an unnecessary burden, one that we were never meant to carry.
Shame is tricky. It often covers our face, our eyes, and we don’t realize the impact it’s having on us.
Shame is distracting. It gets our focus off the One who has forgiven us, made us clean, and set us free.
Shame is a shadow. Which means it can’t stay in the light. When we look down (at our feet, our selves, our circumstances), shadows start to cover us. Shame begins to tighten its grip on us. But when we look up, when we see Him, we can’t help but be covered in light. Why? Because He is light.
I love this verse… the reminder it gives to look upon Him! It speaks of the joy that comes when we join our lives with His. We never have to put that mask of shame back on.
The word for radiant in the Hebrew is nahar, and it means “to shine, beam, light, burn; to sparkle, be cheerful; to shine, give light – whence to be glad, rejoice, from the light or brightness of a happy face.” Ashamed in the Hebrew is chapher, meaning “to blush, be ashamed; mostly used of shame arising from disappointed hope.” When our hope is in the Lord, not in the things of this world, we will never have to wear the shame that stems from disappointed hope. When we look upon the Lord and trust fully in Him, we rejoice… we are radiant… we have the brightness of a happy face. We sparkle! Why? Because we reflect Him.
“Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.” – Isaiah 61:7 (NASB)
I love the contrast in this verse between shame and provision, humiliation and joy. The Hebrew word for shame in this verse is bosheth, and it means “ignominy, a vile and ignominious condition; shame, confusion.” Humiliation is the Hebrew word kĕlimmah, and it means “disgrace, reproach, shame, confusion, dishonor, insult, ignominy.” I had never heard the word “ignominy” and there it was twice, so I looked it up. Webster’s defines it as “deep personal humiliation and disgrace.” I love that God will take away our ignominy and replace it with a double portion and everlasting joy. (One more definition before we move on! The word for joy in Hebrew is simchah, meaning “joy, mirth, gladness, pleasure.” Webster’s defines mirth as “gladness shown by or accompanied with laughter”… which reminded me of Proverbs 31:25 – “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”)
In His presence – when we’re facing Him and our gaze is fixed – there is no shame. Shame flees in His light. It can’t stay. It has to go. It has no ground to stand on, no place to land. Instead, we have joy and laughter, gladness and pleasure – true happiness that is found only in Him.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God.” – Hebrew 12:1-2 (NASB; for more on this passage you can read my first blog, “Run with Perseverance”)
Jesus despised the shame of the cross. Despised in the Greek is kataphroneō, and it means “to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of. The Greek word for shame used in this verse is aischynē, meaning “ignominy, disgrace, dishonor.”
We will go through hard things in our lives, but shame doesn’t have to be a part of them. We can think little or nothing of the shame that our enemy is attempting to smother us with. Satan would love to wrap you up in that heavy, dark blanket of shame, to make you think that God could never look upon you. But because Jesus made a way for us, God removes that blanket of shame and wraps us up in His blanket of love. Of course God sees you! To see you is to see His Son, Jesus. We don’t have to turn away in shame when He looks at us. Instead, we can fix our eyes on Him, and His light will naturally fall on our faces, dispelling the shame.
We weren’t created to wear shame. No wonder it feels terrible; it doesn’t fit us! We were created in His image, and we are meant to be a reflection of His light.
Today, let the light of His face remove the shadows of shame from yours.
Those are just some of my thoughts on shame (and some of my favorite verses and definitions), but I’d love to jumpstart your journey into God’s word to discover all that He has to say about shame vs. shine (which comes when we fix our eyes on Him). Feel free to share a verse in the comments below that resonates with you, or let me know if you have any to add!
- Psalm 31:16-17a – “Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; save me in Your lovingkindness. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You…” (NASB)
- Joel 2:26 – “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; then My people will never be put to shame.” (NASB)
(One more definition of shame! The Hebrew word for shame in Psalm 31:17 and Joel 2:26 is buwsh, and it means: “be ashamed, disconcerted, disappointed; to delay (in shame); to pale, become dry, confounded, confusion; to fail in hope and expectation – joined with shame and blushing.” We don’t have to be put to shame any longer! Thanks be to God!)
- Psalm 16:8 – “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV) “Because You are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience Your wrap-around presence every moment.” (TPT)
- Psalm 25:15 – “My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.” (NASB)
- Psalm 105:4 – “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” (NASB)
- Psalm 141:8 – “For my eyes are toward you, O God, the Lord; in You I have taken refuge; do not leave me defenseless.” (NASB) “But God, dear Lord, I only have eyes for you. Since I’ve run for dear life to you, take good care of me.” (MSG)
- Proverbs 4:25 – “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” (NASB) “Set your gaze on the path before you. With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead, ignore life’s distractions.” (TPT)
- “Starlight” by Bethel, covered by my amazing husband, Jon Wright!
- “Let the Light of Your Face” by Jesus Culture
- “Never Weigh Me Down” by Rend Collective