Being put to shame seems to be the greatest human fear, besides death. Actually, many have preferred death over shame. Even entire cultures embrace "honor suicides" over losing face or shaming their family.
Is this why Jesus death addresses overcoming death and guilt or shame? All our craziest sins are rooted in those fears.
Our failures are often due to not even trying, lest we fail and experience shame.
In Psalm 25, verses 2-3, the Psalmist expresses a common human sentiment in his prayer to God. He also expresses the belief or hope that only traitors and evil men are shamed, but experience has proven otherwise, so he prays:
I trust in you,
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
Father, I have, at times, asked you to vindicate me of slander and clear my name, but I'm not so sure that keeping me from being shamed is something you promise me. You'd rather teach us not to have false pride and dread shame, so we can be transparent and fearless!
Often, no one else even notices the things that cause us so much embarrassment. The awkwardness fear of shame creates draws far more judgment than energetic, out loud living. The wallflower who refuses to participate draws far more negative attention to herself than the lady who leaps onto the dance floor without doesn't worry about her hairdo.
Abba**, you taught me years ago that if I "put mud on my face first thing in the morning," shame is not something I have to fear. My self esteem does not depend on anyone else's approval. I am valuable because you created me and I am your child.
I can live free from shame, no matter how many risks I take or how many times I fail, because there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
Thank you for this freedom. Let your wisdom, not my fear of shame, be my guide and motivation.
*Holy Bible, New International Version
**Papa or Daddy, as God our Father