You will remember your sins and cover your mouth in silent shame when I forgive you all that you have done. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken! Ezekiel 16: 63 NLT.
As I was reading this verse, it caused me to stop and ponder. Silent shame usually comes when we are embarrassed and caught out by our thoughts or actions. It’s the shame that makes you want to hang your head. My silent shame usually occurs when I doubt, instead of walking in faith, and then the Lord comes through and I hang my head in silent shame, embarrassed that my faith was too small, or my actions less than Christ-like.
The Hebrew word for shame, that is used here, is bush. It means to be ashamed, shamed, disappointed, or embarrassed. They derive it from a word which refers to an idol—and according to the New Spirit Filled Life Bible, infers that the idol would ensure that eventually the worshipper of said idol would be ashamed and greatly disappointed by their choice of such an idol. Bush is used for the sense of disappointment one experiences when one’s hope fails embarrassedly; become disgraced. We try to put our “hope” for relaxation, rest or escape in other things. Except what really leads us to life.
Ezekiel is writing in judgment to Jerusalem and their prostitution against the Lord and his ways. They were acting like an unfaithful wife, not trusting their good husband to fulfill his promises. Ezekiel’s words and actions are hard to read. It is amazing to me how gracious and merciful our God is to them and to us. They worshipped other gods and broke his rules, which led to some serious consequences, but in the end, they repented and received his blessing.
What is our excuse? Our eyes get captured by the fleeting idols of our culture, don’t they? The only way we can come out from under any secret shame in our lives is to confess it, and then repent. Often we want to deflect and blame others for our actions—including those things that are our own fault. The good news is if we admit the source of our silent shame, we have a loving Savior who not only forgives us but also can set us free from the effects of this shame. Satan lies to us in several ways, doesn’t he? He may say “it’s not that big of a deal, it really doesn’t matter”…but in our hearts we know it isn’t correct. I am not talking about false shame that he also likes to use against us. This is legitimate stuff. Sinful disobedience that robs our relationship with God and others is real. If we ignore it, and just live with that silent shame, our hearts become hardened and we are even more separated from the Lord, and Satan wins, something none of us want, right? Pride is often the source of our silent shame. We want to protect our image (which is an idol in itself!)
Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and discover the source of this secret shame is so freeing. Not only for ourselves, but for those who are watching us—our friends, our family, co-workers—those we are trying to influence for His Kingdom. Letting go of our silent shame will influence others to release theirs.
I wonder if, when Jesus returns and every eye will see and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that those who scoffed and ridiculed believers will hang their head in silent shame, or will there wailing and shock at what they could have had. Probably both will occur. I am so grateful we can trust in the promises of God and His grace and mercy.
Father, forgive us for continuing those things in secret that bring us secret shame. Those things that really do not lead to the life you want for us. Thank you for your mercy. I ask that your Holy Spirit alerts us strongly to those things that we have accepted as ok, but do not lead us to the abundant life you have promised. Forgive us for listening to Satan’s lies in any shape and form. In Jesus’ Name, amen.