When someone has made mistakes in their past, a stigma seems to follow them like a shadow. Someone who cheats once is a cheater. Someone who lies once is a liar. Someone who stole once is a thief. And somehow, we forget that Jesus can erase those sins and stigma in others the same way He did for us.
One of the worst things someone said to me was that I didn’t know how to love because I had only failed relationships in my past. It hurt me at my core because I can’t change what happened. That was one of the few times in my journey that I actually felt shame over my story. That someone could look at me and believe that I was incapable of love. I remember being so hurt that I didn’t even respond and left the room shell shocked. I later texted him that the love of Christ was the only example of love I needed. And now that it’s been almost a year since he said that, I can look back at every act of love I showed this friend despite his words that broke my soul that day.
What I told him was right, if we start to look at the sacrifice Jesus made in love, and the miracles He performed along the way, we can see this ultimate example of love. And with that, we can let go of the shame over our past mistakes. Jesus washes over those sins and takes them away, so we don’t have to be caught up in a web of hurt.
In the same way, to hold past mistakes over other’s heads isn’t love either. We are called to love others and reflect the love that Christ modeled for us.
I think of the lepers that Jesus healed. What a life these people had, outcast from society from their disease with no hope of feeling anything besides pain and rejection over the uncleanliness. But Jesus reached out, and healed them, giving them a fresh hope and a new life. That shame no longer associated with them anymore.
This cleansing completely changed the lepers’ lives. A physical example of what Jesus sees after washing away our sins. We no longer have to carry the weight of our stories in shame, but instead walk as a living example of the power God has.
“Bot the one who makes med holy, and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” -Hebrews 2:11
“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.” -Psalm 31:1-2