-written by Joe Bradley
Recently I talked with my boss about the culture around most workplaces. She brought up the fact that many times people operate out of shame and fear. When a mistake happens the first reaction is to cover it up rather than trying to fix what caused it in the first place. People are ashamed that they made a mistake and out of that shame grows fear that someone will find out about it. One of her biggest desires for our workplace is to cultivate an atmosphere where people aren’t afraid to own up to their mistakes and help to make the process better for everyone.
This conversation made me take a step back and think about, not just my life at work, but my life in general. I’m honestly afraid of my shame. It’s something that is very hard for me to think about, much less write about. I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like messing up. But more than that, I don’t like for other people to know about it.
So when I make a mistake, I hide it, I lie about it, I avoid it, and I do whatever possible not to deal with it. I don’t want people to know I’m weak. I don’t want people to know what I did wrong and how bad I’ve really messed up. The problem with that attitude is… how will I ever get better?
After we talked about the idea of shame and fear being a primary motivator, God pointed me toward the story of Adam. In Genesis we see the first two emotions ever recorded in the Bible. After Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he and Eve hid from God’s presence. They were afraid because of their shame. Their fear and shame drove them even farther from God’s presence (Genesis 3).
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was presented with a similar dilemma. No, he didn’t have any sin to be ashamed of, but I think He was afraid of the pain and suffering He was about to endure because of our sin. What does He do? He prays. His first reaction to dealing with even the possibility of sin was to go straight to God. Jesus showed us that the real answer to sin is to go against what our flesh wants (“take this cup from me”) and stay close to the Father (“if it be your will”) (Matthew 26:36-42).
Because Jesus passed the test in Gethsemane, we have nothing to fear. Because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we have to stop acting out of shame. His righteousness was imputed on us the moment we repented and were baptized.
Stop trying to hide whatever mistake you may have made. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed (James 5:16). Come together in the church and work on whatever problems you may have. Jesus didn’t die for you to cover up your sin. The thief’s purpose is to kill and destroy. Christ’s purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10).
-Joe Bradley serves at SoHills as a Fusion Life Group leader and Deacon. He works at Tanner Hospital as the Stroke Care Coordinator. Joe enjoys reading, going on dates with his wife Melissa, playing with his two boys, eating good food, and wrestling polar bears.