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Divine | Shame | Humans

Shame is often the only thing between our creator and us.

Our reading this week is from Job 14:5-6:

A person’s days are determined;
    you have decreed the number of his months
    and have set limits he cannot exceed.
So look away from him and let him alone,
    till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.

Job is struggling with shame and judgement.  He is wondering why God is spending time paying attention to him, a tiny speck in the great universe, a blink of an eye in all eternity.  Why would God waste time casting a glance at us, let alone fostering us, raising us, and disciplining us?  He cries out "Why won't God just let us be, to live out our miserable existence?"

A friend shared a post with me on Facebook this week.  It was a video of her dog who had stolen her donut.  The dog had been under the bed for two hours before she started the video.  The video begins with a clear view of the dog and the uneaten donut under the bed.  The dog casts glances from side to side, clearly uncomfortable.  The owner gently encourages her "Why are you under the bed? Is it because you stole my donut? You didn't eat it yet, why don't you just bring it to me?".  The dog continues to shift uncomfortably.  She sniffs the donut and looks around.  She has been caught, she wants to eat the donut, but something inside is stopping her. The owner mentions the obvious "I can see you are struggling with your decision, why don't you just bring me the donut?".  There is a softness in the owner's voice, a little chuckle at the situation can be heard.  The loss of the donut didn't matter to my friend, she had 11 more, but the poor dog was sitting there lost under the weight of her shame, uncomfortable and frozen with indecision.  The only thing standing in the way of a loving embrace, a belly rub, and probably a bit of donut, was the dog's own shame.  

The caption my friend put on the video was something close to this: "Like me and God chatting when I try to get away with something".  What an insightful nugget to chew on...  God is constantly calling us out of hiding.  In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve were hiding from God in the garden because they had eaten the forbidden fruit.  God, who knew exactly where they were, called out "Where are you?".  Later God asked: "Did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat?".  I heard the same gentle prompts from my friend, "Are you under there because you stole my donut?".  I hear the same prompts from the Spirit within me when I try to get away with something.  Don't you? 

Similarly, those prompts are not intended to shame us, but to call us out of hiding.  God encourages us to crawl out from under the bed and do our best to fix our mistakes.  However, we are often frozen with shame and indecision because we don't realize that the donut we took matters way less to God than the relationship God is calling us into. 

Lord help us to have the courage to crawl out from under the bed.  Give us the strength to take the little actions to fix our mistakes.  Help us to hear your loving tone and soft chuckle so that we realize that we are never in too deep for your grace to pull us out.  Amen.   


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