As I passed through the dining room of a local retirement home I was greeted by smiles and grins – friendly bunch I thought to myself. When I met my friends on the other side one said to me did I know about my trousers. I looked, thinking I had sat in something, but to my embarrassment found a split in my trousers the whole way down the right buttock! No wonder I brought smiles as I walked. Now I wondered how many people had been treated to a good look at my underwear – I had visited a number of shops before reaching the home. (I wondered if I should call this post ‘turn the other cheek!’)
A previous embarrassment happened years ago when at home in Ireland. I was unloading groceries from the car – running in and out of the house. As I slammed the door closed my skirt got caught in the door of the car. The car door was locked and keys inside the house. I called for Mum but she didn’t hear. I had an audience across the road at the bus stop watching to see what happened – but no one came to my rescue. Thankfully a bus arrived so when the road was clear I jumped out of my skirt and ran inside. Ladies there is a reason why your grandmother always told you to wear a slip!
We hate to be embarrassed – even when it is an accident – our cheeks glow red with shame. It is a horrible feeling and thankfully one that God says he will not put us through:
Isaiah 54:4-6 Don’t be afraid–you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back–you’re not going to come up short. You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth, and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory. 5 For your Maker is your bridegroom, his name, GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies! Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth. 6 You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief, and GOD welcomed you back, Like a woman married young and then left,” says your God.
God knows the full details of our pasts – our mistakes and humiliations, the things that make us blush with shame. But he is gracious – he does not bring up again and again the embarrassing stories and try to humiliate us. Paul puts it another way:
Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
How wonderful that when we come to God we find forgiveness and understanding rather than shame and humiliation. Our faults are not unnoticed but in spite of them we find a loving Father ready to embrace us not embarrass us.