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The Antidote to Shame

How does Jesus respond to our shame?

Woman sits on a sofa with her knee elevated and her elbow resting on her knee as she rests her head against her hand.

”You can’t get to the place of honesty and change until you go to the place of pain and failure.”

—Mark Jobe


“The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9).

One thing we’ve all experienced to some capacity is the feeling of shame and the guilt associated with it. Shame from our sin is a common human experience that goes all the way back to the time when Adam and Eve first sinned and hid from God in the garden. Shame tells us that we’re flawed and unworthy of love from others. Sadly, many people live with hidden shame with memories that plaque them of things they did or failed to do.

In John 4, we’re given a model of how Jesus encounters the woman at the well in her sin and shame and how He does the same for each one of us. There’s a sense that Jesus knew that this woman needed Him as we read in verse 4, “Now he had to go through Samaria,” a town that was considered ethically and religiously unclean by Jews. Jesus saw a divine opportunity to speak into this woman’s life. Consider that He’ll also go to great lengths to pursue you in your pain and suffering so that you can encounter His healing love as well.

Another insight that’s important to note is that this woman was at the well at noon, the hottest time of the day when no one else went so she wouldn’t be seen by anyone. Shamed by her sin and ostracized by her community, she tried to hide. This is often our reaction for fear of letting anyone into that area of our heart, we cover ourselves and hide. Overtime, we begin to identify ourselves with our sin instead of a beloved son or daughter of God. Ponder that even in our ugliness, Jesus sees the potential of who we will be through the prism of what Christ did on our behalf on the cross.

Finally, notice that Jesus begins a dialogue with the woman when he says to her, “Give me a drink.” He doesn’t begin by immediately talking about what is causing her shame but sets up the conversation so that He can touch on deeper areas of her heart. Despite her coldness and sarcasm, He doesn’t condemn her but sparks a desire in her for living waters in a spiritual sense she didn’t realize she had. It is the same with us. When we experience God’s love in those areas of sin and shame in our lives, we taste the waters of freedom and forgiveness that only God can give us. Friend, God invites us to come to Him and drink from the living waters of His love today. Don’t let shame rob you of this “spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Listen to the sermon series: Faith and Failure

Part 1Part 2

Ministry Update from Mark

I wrote these thoughts a few years ago but feel the same today. Resetting my mindset and spirit each morning in the presence of God is a daily survival rhythm for me.

Fast paced, noisy, and volatile.
The world that I live in.
Honks, yells, and flashing lights.
Protests, marches, veins popping, sign waving. Nuclear threats and political unrest.
The world that I live in.
High schools shut down, bomb threats, teachers on strike.
The world that I live in.
Partisan rhetoric, news real or fake, hate red and blue.
The world that I live in.
Another divorce, a woman abused, a thirteen-year-old cutting her wrist.
The world that I live in.
A man on probation, a new DUI, too young to try suicide.
The world that I live in.
So I pause at the break of each day and remember the One who reigns above the fray. I rest, I refill, I renew, I see order and purpose in You.
My spirit is calm, my heart is full, my faith is flush.
Now I step boldly into the noise and flashing lights.
Hope, healing, renewal, and redemption are in sight.
This is . . . the world that I live in.

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