In the CCEF class, Counseling Problems and Procedures, Ed Welch says this about shame:
“Jesus has this hybrid existence. He’s born in shame. His family is both royal and shameful. The King is familiar with shame from his very birth. From early on in his ministry, he is questioned because of his associations with the riffraff. It seems he doesn’t want to be part of the in-crowd of priests and Sadducees. Instead, Jesus takes on the extremes of shame; he pursues society’s shamed ones without even being asked to pursue them.”
I was convicted when I thought about Christ intentionally pursuing shameful people. It left me with the realization (yet again) that God’s ways are not my natural ways. I don’t want to pursue shameful people. But when I look at Christ and see him go after the kinds of people he did, I am so grateful. Because that is how he got to me. He didn’t get to me because I was worthy of being pursued. And he didn’t get to me because I was holy and I had a lot to offer the Kingdom. He got to me because he is the God who pursues shameful people for the sake of rescuing, knowing, and loving them.
So I’m counted among those who need to be pursued with a rescuing love. As his child, you, too, are counted as one of the shameful ones who needs rescuing. And as his children, we receive his covering over the shameful things we’ve done. But there’s more. God also gifts us with the most wonderful call. We get to be like him. We who belong to this God must do the things that we see him doing. What a glorious call that is! Doesn’t the church shine like a city on a hill when she feeds the homeless and clothes the poor? Isn’t the church radiant when we claim the orphans and provide them with homes? The church is majestic when we offer help to addicts and hope for the brokenhearted. She is remarkable when she leaves home and comfort and pursues alienation and discomfort—so that others might find home and comfort. It is acts such as these that Christ inhabits. It is acts such as these that invite the shamed ones to belong to the God who covers their shame and calls them his own.
At our National Conference on October 26-28, we want you to catch a vision for pursuing the shamed. We want you to catch a vision for how Christ pursues you. We will look intently and closely at our Savior and apprehend what he is really doing when he pursues the shamed. We will expect to be pursued personally—yet again—by our relentless Redeemer. We will also equip you to effectively minister when you go out and image him—when you come into contact with the shamed ones. Join us in Chattanooga. Today is the last day to register at the lowest rates. Will you join us as we learn about Christ’s persistent pursuit of us and how he transforms how we pursue others?
Lauren Whitman is a content curator at CCEF. Lauren is also a counselor and an editor for the Journal of Biblical Counseling.