Bible Reading: 1 John 4:16-21
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:16
Toby hadn’t meant to wreck anything. But during a game of hide-and-seek at Nolan’s house he spotted a big woven basket Nolan’s parents had picked up years ago on a trip to Africa. He knew it was one of their prized possessions—which meant Nolan would never look for him inside it.
Toby climbed in and pulled the basket’s lid down on top of himself, but as he sat in the dark he realized that hiding in the basket wasn’t such a great idea. As he clambered out of the basket before Nolan walked in, his leg broke through the old reeds, ripping a gaping hole. He pulled free, put the top back on, and darted to another hiding spot.
Toby isn’t sure if Nolan’s parents know who destroyed their basket. And even though Nolan is his best friend, Toby feels too ashamed to ever go to his house again.
Shame is the feeling that tells us we’ve messed up so badly that no one could ever love us again. It’s what made Toby stay away from Nolan’s house, because he didn’t want to run into his best friend’s parents—or be reminded of his unlovableness.
Ripping the basket didn’t make Toby suddenly unlovable, but he wasn’t seeing himself clearly. While shame is a feeling that hits all of us from time to time, some kids live their whole life in shame, haunted by the horrible feeling that they’re too bad for anyone to ever love. “No way can God love me,” they might say. “I know what I have done. He puts up with me because I’ve accepted Christ as my Savior. But he won’t ever love me as his child.”
Whether our shame is a short-term emotion or a long-term problem, the solution is the same: God wants us to come into the light, letting his truth shine on us and show us who we really are.
God doesn’t bring us into the light to show off our faults. He wants us to see ourselves as he does. Sure, we might spot failures we need to confess. But we can rest peacefully in God’s presence because we are sure that his forgiveness covers whatever we’ve done. And we can bask in the Son-shine as we realize we are his lovable, valuable, and capable children.
Do you feel like hiding? There’s no better relief than coming into the light.
TALK: Have you made it a habit to hide your failings from God or people because you fear they won’t love you anymore? How can you let the light in?
PRAY: God, we all do things we are ashamed of. Help us walk in your light by being honest and receiving forgiveness from you and others.
ACT: When you fail today, don’t let yourself begin to feel shame. Step into God’s light right away by confessing your sins—and letting others see you for who you are.