Rooted,

How does Jesus View the Shame We Bury & the Stigma We Carry?

 

Colorado 1999

Domestic life challenged me from the beginning.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I worried. Babies and small children frightened me because I didn’t have much experience with them.

The “stay-at-home” life challenged me even more. I struggled through those 10 years. Depressed and lonely, the quiet house unsettled me. When my husband left for work, I felt panicked. Once, when I confided in another woman, she pronounced, “You don’t really love your children, do you?” Love them? Of course I loved them! Horrified at her response, I buried the feelings and vowed never to share them again.

 

pexels-photo-225744For years, I carried around the humiliation that I wasn’t a good mom. I questioned, “If I really loved them, wouldn’t being with them all day satisfy me?”

Since then, I’ve learned to look through Jesus’ eyes.

 

 How does Jesus view the pain we bury and the stigma we carry?

Jesus turned the old way of thinking about shame and stigma upside down through an encounter with a leper (see Mark 1:41-42). You see, Moses’ Law directed lepers to live alone. Designated unclean, they couldn’t worship God at the temple. When they approached people, their torn clothes and unkempt hair identified them. Covering their faces, they yelled out, “Unclean! unclean!”

This leper came out of hiding and sought Jesus. Falling on His knees, he begged, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” The disciples recoiled, but Jesus was moved by his plea. Deeply touched and upset, Jesus touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately, he was healed of leprosy and cleansed. 

The world saw a stigma that branded him an outsider, an outcast. But Jesus saw a lonely man who needed human touch. The world heard a man unclean for worship. But Jesus heard a cry for healing and acceptance, a desire to be near God.

Some of us bear stigma, too

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An addiction.

A divorce.

Childlessness.

Some of us bury our shame, fearing their reaction.

An abortion.

Depression.

Anxiety.

Same-sex attraction.

Unpopular political views.

 

Consider Jesus.

He was the most unique human being who ever lived. And everything He did and said was from God’s heart.

Watch Jesus’ encounter with the Leper as portrayed in The Visual Bible: Matthew.

 

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Daily, the power of stories amazes me–moves me, shapes me–an ordinary wife, mom, teacher, writer, Jesus-follower.

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