While driving down the road I saw one of those ” My kid beat up your honor student” bumper stickers on the back of a truck. I categorically dislike that particular sticker for several reasons- stereotyping, endorsing violence…. and it’s a dumb thing to say as the mom of two boys who have been honor roll and not at different times. I’ve seen this sticker plenty of times, but a new thought began rambling around after I drove off from the encounter: it’s a “glory covering shame” statement.
Our basic nature as people is to sin. To sin, is to violate God’s law. To fall short of God’s glory is another way it is expressed in Romans. Sin, rightfully, produces guilt. Guilt says “I did something wrong” and is an accurate response. But, what often piggybacks onto sin and guilt is shame. Shame says “something is wrong with me” and is not accurate. The belief that, at the core I am fundamentally flawed and screwed up and basically unloveable, is not true. We all sin, and do wrong things, which is why we needed a Savior. But shame is a partial (mis)understanding of the gospel. The gospel tells us we are more wicked than we ever realized. But the gospel also tells us we are more loved than we ever dared hope. Jesus had to die for me because of my sin, but He wanted to die for me because of His love. So while guilt is true, shame is a lie. Here’s where the bumper sticker comes in: once we begin to believe shame instead of grace we need to hide. To cover the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. But sometimes, we hide in plain site. We begin to glory in our shame.
“So my kid is not as smart and together as I want him to be. And deep down I think this proves I’m a failure. But why should I feel ashamed? He could probably be way cooler than your boring smart kid. Maybe your kid is a wimp and I can be proud my kid is tough.” -bumper sticker dad
Women tend to do this a lot with our weight, our money, our domestic skills and our family’s. We “brag” about how overweight we are, or how little we clean, how bad we cook, how mean we can be to our husbands, how we drink too much wine at bunco. Sort of a “if I’m destined to be a loser, I’ll be the best of the losers” mentality. And in doing so we harden our hearts to the quiet voice of conviction we actually need.
There is a solution to this backwards response; mourn our sin, receive God’s love and glory in our Savior. When we do that we can quit bragging about our hidden insecurities and start bragging about a God who loves us, flaws and all!