“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God; and that is who we are.” 1 John 3:1
The knock came to the front door. I really didn’t want to answer, but felt obligated. The friendly ones stood on the porch asking to come in and chat for a while. I swung the door wide and before I knew what I was saying, I had invited them to join me at the kitchen table for coffee and sweets. There we sat like we had been best friends forever. I found myself agreeing with everything they were saying to me when all of a sudden they slid a document across the table inviting me to join the team. It was presented like one of the time-share offers that was only good today for a few hours. I took the shiny gold pen and felt honored to sign on the line. I deserved to be a part of this elite society that had been offered to me. Besides, I could keep the gold pen.
There was a slight problem. I didn’t read the fine print telling me that I had just signed away all of my peace, freedom and joy. You see the two I sat across from were named Embarrassment and Shame. They came knocking ever so persistent until they entered my heart and quickly took up residence. I was snared by their smooth words and promising future.
Life felt like a prison because they knew so much of my past. They told stories that I had long forgotten and enticed me to scoot my chair closer to hear their whispering words. Before our meeting was over, the whispers had now turned to loud accusations. I sat humiliated, embarrassed and full of shame. The stories they told were all so true, but I had never known such a grip of shame and condemnation.
Once the papers were signed and the gold pen was slipped into the expensive velvet bag, they walked out of the front door as quickly as they had entered. But something had changed. I had come into agreement with them and no longer knew who I was. Though the pen was a free gift in exchange for my signature, it was very costly. It was forever a reminder of the agreement I had made. I was secretly held by the events of my past and held in the vice of shame and ridicule. There would be days that I would think I was breaking free, but the signature wooed me back.
It seemed to color everything about me. When I was invited to be a part of any gathering, my contract with Shame and Embarrassment hindered me from being real and vulnerable. There were moments when I could feel the possibility of love and acceptance, but the shouts of Shame and Embarrassment always caused me to retreat.
I often told myself, “If they really knew me, they would never love me. They wouldn’t invite me to lunch. They would not really want to be my friend.” When relationships became too close, I inched my chair away from the table to return home to the all too familiar table. Although I hated the company at this table, it was familiar and awkwardly comfortable.
But one day a new knock came tapping on my door. It was a gentle knock. It seemed non-challenging. The One who stood there never pressed or pushed to come in, but the presence that stood in front of me was overwhelming. I somehow knew his name was Love before He ever spoke it. I wanted to invite Him in. My desire opened the door wide and when He entered everything seemed brand new.
As soon as He stepped over the threshold, His eyes pierced me and I knew that He knew everything about me. I didn’t even have to tell Him. Suddenly all of my shame, guilt, and embarrassment seemed to flee. I quickly invited Him to the kitchen table for sweet fellowship. This was a different table than the one I had experienced for so many years. Instead of recalling my past, He told me of His past. He slid a contract across the table and showed me where He had already signed it with His blood. And because of His signature and my invitation of Him to come on in, I was a part of a new family.
A new family? With new friends and companions?
Many new friends surrounded this table. Their names were Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Freedom, Joy and Peace. Oh, I don’t want to forget No Judgment. What a privilege! Words of encouragement and blessings freely flowed at this new table.
I’m learning to not walk away and be comfortable with these. I admit that it’s taking some time to trust these new voices, so I hold on tightly to the side of the table to keep myself from running.
I wish I could tell you I never heard from Shame and Embarrassment again, but that’s not the truth. They often knock on my door. I recognize them quicker because they always thrive on the past and focus on my failures. They travel with a bag of lies and will quickly toss them into any little crack in my door or window. A daily watch over the entrances of my heart is necessary to keep them far away from my new table.
Besides, they would be very uncomfortable with my new companion. He doesn’t allow any shame, condemnation, guilt or embarrassment at His table. I am so thankful for the new contract that Love made with me. He is bound to me, keeping his covenant for a thousand generations.
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9
When Love comes knocking at your door, dare to believe He is faithful and true. He promises much more than a gold pin. You can trust Him. I have been abiding at His table for many years and He has never broken a promise.