Imagine this …
You’re scanning the holiday menu while standing in line at Starbucks.
You notice your co-worker, who recently shared her financial burdens with you, paying at the register.
“Your card was declined,” whispers the barista.
Your co-worker’s face becomes flushed with embarrassment with every swipe attempt.
You’re nudged by the Spirit of God to take care of her order.
Yet, you politely wait for the perfect moment to interject and bless her.
Finally, you step in.
And her relief is evidenced by a sigh and a “thank you.”
Though she was unaware of the outcome, you weren’t.
The embarrassment and shame she displayed weren’t alarming to you.
In fact, as you were aware of her circumstances, you expected her reaction and downcast emotions.
Though she didn’t share that she was a few bucks short for coffee, you were mindful of what you knew about this season of her life.
And in that moment, none of it hindered your decision to meet her needs, which also fulfilled her desire.
This is God’s heart for the little things that matter to us — attentive, compassionate, and prepared to fulfill our every longing.
Yet, within some of us, a hint of apprehension restricts our sharing of the raw contents of the heart.
Therein lies the unpopular face of shame.
Generally, shame is recognized by reclusiveness, feelings of guilt and/or embarrassment, and preceded or accompanied by other unpleasant emotions (e.g., fear of judgment, sadness, anger). Psychologically, it’s defined as an unpleasant, self-conscious feeling that comes from the sense of being or doing a dishonorable, ridiculous, or immodest act.
However, shame isn’t always this objective.
And when approaching the throne of grace, shame in His presence may appear as a brave face: “This isn’t ‘that’ big of a deal.”
Or we may attempt to polish our syntax to “sound better” than our plain-old dialect with the Father.
This face of shame arises when we feel we must clean up our thoughts for the One who already knows them.
But, the omniscience of the Godhead has accounts for it all.
It’s how Jesus knew the Samaritan woman’s marital status at the well (John 4:1-26).
It’s how Jesus knew the evil thoughts of the scribes when He healed the paralytic man (Matthew 9:1-8). And it’s meant to be a source of comfort in knowing that all parts of us, individually, are welcomed in the presence of the King.
Omniscience is defined as the state of knowing everything.
And for believers, one assault against intimacy with the Father is the subtle belief that in His omniscience, the contents of our hearts don’t actually matter to Him, the way they matter to us.
Here are several reminders when these moments arise in time of communion with Him:
1. God sent Jesus to disarm all shame.
Some may not understand or recognize shame for what it is; they may deem it reprehensible but not understand its roots or its impact. However, God understands it well. In fact, He sent His Son, Jesus, to disarm shame while also freely giving us the ability to be redeemed into relationship with Him.
“… looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:2 ESV
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”John 14:6 ESV
God has covered not only our shame and fear of judgment from other humans, but also shame we may be unaware of pertaining to full transparency with Him while in His presence.
2. God sees us as His children.
The average parent would never be blatantly apathetic towards their child distraught over a broken toy.
While the parent’s values, the child’s life, and the world stand vastly different from their child’s perceptions yet to be fully developed, it’s the parent’s love that evokes concern for the child’s plight.
Parental compassion isn’t based on the toy itself.
Their love for their child is what inspires the desire to rectify the issue.
Further, the parent is aware of the child’s state of maturity and why the child’s mindset and immaturity matter.
Therefore, we can only imagine the heart of the Father if this represents an average human response.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”Matthew 7:11 ESV
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”John 1:12-13 ESV
God is compassionate not only in the things we perceive to be valid, but also in the things we misperceive as irrelevant to Him.
3. God is fully aware.
It’s one thing to have a general awareness of a subject matter.
It’s another to have a magnified lens of every atomic detail.
This is an attribute of God that not only concerns our present day, but was already in place before we existed.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”Psalm 139:16 ESV
“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.”Psalm 139:2 ESV
To God, there’s no invalid emotion, and he understands all the complexities and heartache of shame.
He considers us His expertise.
And yet while knowing everything about us, He wants to hear it from us.
Before the foundations of the earth, we were both fully known and fully loved by Him.
And the grounds of intimacy were all the more prepared by the One who knows what we have to bring to Him, before we even know we’re coming.