The Beast of Shame

From The Beast of Shame by Sandra Unger

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June 16, 2017

While the message that Sandra has brought was excellent, it brings also to my mind Robert Southwell’s quote,

“Not where I breathe but where I love, I live”

Although scientists are looking for ‘life’ on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe that may be termed ‘biological life’, this is far short of conscious and conscience life experienced by humanity.

As Sandra indicates, if we are created in the Image of God (or His Image-bearers) then we reflect this love to others and Creation. While in one sense we could say God’s life is love, but God doesn’t have life as He is life. And our life is from Him; hence we live. So that true living is loving or, truly relating to others is love itself, in action.

We can understand Adam’s ‘plight’ in the sense of God saying (Gen 2:18), “It is not good that the man should be alone”. While Adam could express his love to God and Creation, he could not express it through a relationship with another person.

We then have the primal couple working in God’s temple on Earth ie Eden, with the choice of ‘feeding’ from either the tree of eternal Life or (effectively) the tree of death. After choosing the latter option their created purity/innocence was lost and they were excluded from God’s temple/Eden…with the consequential shame that Sandra mentions. It is interesting that at this point in the Creational narrative, that the loving relationship between Adam and Eve breaks down (Gen 3:18 “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”) that is further reflected later, with Cain murdering his brother.

Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve were able to enjoy being in the presence of God without shame or a ‘grocery list’ of laws that they had to obey…this all came naturally. Now, in another sense, they (or perhaps humanity) knew the difference between good and evil if they were to come into the presence of God…the gulf is indeed deep and wide (the aspects of ritual and moral purity are covered to a large extent in Leviticus).

If we step back and look at the Bible in a holistic sense, we could almost say that it is a book that teaches us to love…to recapture that which was lost at the beginning. Indeed Jesus says when questioned,

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:36-40)

So, as Sandra indicates, God’s love/our love can only truly be expressed or shown through loving relationships that removes shame…that has its source in the Cross, the sacrificial life of Christ, that so totally removed our shame that, as the writer of Hebrews states (10:19),

“.…we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus”

And, as Rev 22:4 states that we, “will see his face”. Something that would have been beyond the comprehension and shame of Adam and Eve, after the Fall.

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Video Information

The story of the transforming power of love over shame is all around us. This past weekend Sandra showed us this theme in the movie 'The Beauty and the Beast', and we learn how powerful love can be to defeat even the most paralyzing shame.