Living In Love Or Living In Shame


Isaiah 54:1-8


“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” Isaiah 54:4

The news of a Singaporean member of a Catholic order being jailed for five years for engaging in sexual acts with two teenage boys sometime between 2005 and 2007 led Archbishop William Goh to share his dismay, shock and shame.1 The scandal is a grim reminder that we all have sinful desires within our hearts keeping us from living a life of love.

Sexuality is God’s gift of love to teach us the beauty and wonder of an intimate relationship between a man and a woman who are committed to serve one another. But evil turned this beautiful gift of love into lust to use one another for carnal pleasures. The story of Adam and Eve is not about the breaking of God’s rules but to open our eyes to  the consequences of a broken relationship with God – of living a life of shame instead of a life of love.

When Adam and Eve were filled with shame, they tried to cover their nakedness and tried to hide from God. Shame then led to the blame game with Adam passing the responsibility for his disobedience to Eve and Eve accusing the serpent of deceiving her. The beautiful and intimate relationship of Adam and Eve with God was broken.

Being separated from the love of God, human beings were condemned to live in darkness with closed minds and hardened hearts. When we have no sense of shame we live for lustful pleasure and practice every kind of impurity.2 And we are driven to look for scapegoats for our failings and weaknesses instead of assuming responsibility and confessing them. Jesus came to fulfill God’s promise to the Jews to take away our shame so that we can live in love:

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.”3

This assurance of God in Isaiah Chapter 54 to deliver us from shame is sandwiched between the description of the Suffering Servant in Chapter 53 and God’s call to live in His covenant of faithful love in Chapter 55.  Like Adam we hide from God when we turn away from the cross of Christ:

“He is despised and  rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised , and we did not esteem Him”4 

Scandals and suffering are not from God they are a revelation of the war that God is waging against evil. It is only through the cross that I can listen to my grief and the sorrows of others.

“Listen and come to me. Pay attention to me. Then you will live. I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. I will give you my faithful love.”5

During Yom Kippur, the celebration of the Day of Atonement by the Jews, two male goats were chosen – one to be sacrificed as a sin offering and the other to be a scapegoat to carry away the sins of the people into the wilderness.6  Jesus came to be the sin offering as well as the scapegoat to set us free from shame and blame. We can choose to follow Jesus and be a lamb of God or we can be tempted to blame others for our sorrows.  

Pride, guilt, fears and doubts fill our hearts with shame and blinds us to the agape love of God. The scandal in the Catholic Church according to Archbishop Goh, is a wake-up call to take our spiritual life seriously. We need to be awakened from a complacent faith.7 We need to spend time in silent meditation to observe our thoughts and to take them captive to Christ.8 It is so easy to shame and blame, to judge and criticize, until we find that the evil we see and condemned in the world are also deep within our hearts:

“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.”9

The cross of Christ draws our attention to the horror of evil and sin that is present in the depths of each of our hearts. It is also God’s prescription to live a life of love. To follow Jesus is to die to my old self so that I will not look for scapegoats in others.  And I can do so only by the grace of God:

“God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us.”10 

When we belong to Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation and nothing can separate us from the love of God.11 There is a spiritual war and the battle belongs to God. My responsibility is not to save the world but to lift up the cross of Christ so that others will be hungry and thirsty for the Kingdom of God:

“Who, oh Lord, could save themselves
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still.

You alone can rescue,
You alone can save You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise.12


Lord, thank You for setting me free from the prison of shame so that I can live in Your Kingdom of Love.


  1.  What fills my heart with shame?
  2.  Why is it important not to blame others for my unhappiness?
  3.  How am I lifting up the cross of Christ in the world?

Song of Praise:

You alone can rescue



  1. Today;
  2. Ephesians 4:17-19, NLT
  3.  Isaiah 54:4, NLT
  4. Isaiah 53:3, NKJV
  5. Isaiah 55:3, NIRV
  6.  Leviticus 16:7-10, NLT
  7.  Today;
  8. 1 Corinthians 10:5, NLT
  9. 1 Corinthians 10:11-12, NLT
  10.  Ephesians 1:4 NIRV
  11. Romans Chapter 8:1, 39
  12. You Alone Can Rescue, Matt Redman

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