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SOURCES OF SHAME: LARGE BODIES

Thought I’d start off today with a light question...What’s your greatest source of shame? What about yourself makes you recoil with disgust, makes you want to dig a hole and never come out of it?


Maybe that doesn’t feel like a very light question. 


My consistent source of shame has always been my overly large body. I knew that I should feel shame about that from an early age, before I knew much else.  I’d like my body to be invisible; instead it has always taken up more space than I want it to. 


As I’ve processed this shame I feel about my physical body, there’s a physicality of the Gospel that I’ve found very important. God manifested Himself in the imperfect body of Jesus. We know it was imperfect because it was a body. At the death of Christ, there is absolute shame and humiliation as His unclothed, beaten body is put on display for all to see. Then that same body is resurrected from the dead. It gains some mystical qualities like being able to walk through walls, yet Jesus’ body keeps the shame of His pierced hands and side. In that way, He bears the shame of His cursed death for all of eternity, while our bodies are given a different promise. In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes, “It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power” (vv 42-43). 


Another angle is found in Song of Solomon, one of the weirder parts of Scripture. This book, connects with the deep desire to be with someone who sees all of me, every inch of my physical imperfection, and loves it...loves it so much he wants to write poetry about each part. If a mere mortal can love that much, how much more can God love my imperfect self? 


These passages teach me that, because Jesus bore shame on His body, I no longer need to feel shame about mine. Shame speaks of living under a law of perfection, which is what Christ came to set us free from. As with all of me, Jesus looks upon my body and deems it worthy of love. I try to punish it, shame it for not being good enough. He does the very opposite. He deems it good and desirable and worthy of love simply for existing. And more than that, He promises to perfect it completely one day, not because of anything I’ve done, but because He paved the way by taking my shame. 


So what is your greatest source of shame? What would it mean for Jesus to know that same shame, to have compassion and empathy on the most intimate level? How does a God who loves you unconditionally speak to your shame today? 


This question can become light in the light of Jesus. With Him, we can look upon our shame, our guilt, our curses, and laugh. We can dance instead of mourning. Our tears can turn to laughter. 


The invitation is simple: don’t hide behind your shame; present it to Him for healing. 

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