He Stood in My Shame
By Marie Drakulic
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4)
I pulled the lid off a box labeled “memories.” Inside, it spilled over with cards, letters, ticket stubs, and journals. As I took them out piece by piece, I wasn’t feeling nostalgic. Fear gripped my heart. I knew what I was about to do would be hard, incredibly hard—the reopening of wounds that had left gaping holes in my soul. Flipping through the pages of my life, I read these words: I don’t want another guy to touch me. I’m sick of being used to the point that it disgusts me. How will I face a good Christian man with my revolting past? I feel so dirty.
My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach, and I could feel the enemy close. I said a quick prayer that the Holy Spirit might help me take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), and I kept reading. Going back a few more years, I returned to the place where the breaking began. I waded into the horrifyingly graphic details, and the memory of it haunted me. And I felt those emotions all over again—empty, worthless, broken, and disgusting—shame.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
The day had finally come. She was caught. She always knew it would end someday. He never really loved her anyway, but she pretended he did. It was over—the dream, the man, maybe even her life. The Bible never shares her name, but I know her story well. She is the woman caught in adultery. On that fateful day, the religious leaders, those who thought themselves above reproach, marched her to Jesus. It may be the first recorded walk of shame. Humiliated, I imagine she never lifted her head. Maybe she believed she deserved her punishment. Certainly she hadn’t expected to receive grace.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus stood beside her in the shame. The only One that truly could condemn her chose to rescue her instead. This isn’t the only time Jesus was marked by the company He kept. His treatment of the outcasts from religious society did more than raise a few eyebrows. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” They asked His disciples (Matthew 9:11).
Aren’t we still like this today? Keeping far from the “dirty” out of fear that, if we get too close, a smudge will rub off on our own shoulders and taint our precious reputations. In our homes and in our churches, we avoid the broken and lost. We don’t want to be associated with their shame. Yet, Jesus made it a priority to go to the lepers, the adulterers, and the thieves. He didn’t just allow them to sit in His sermons. He invited them into a relationship with Him. He visited their homes, ate at their tables, and drank from their wells.
For years, like this broken woman, I was among those who stood on the outside. Everywhere I went I was labeled by my sin. But when others ran, Jesus drew near.
He hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12b)
I held the papers torn from my childhood diary in my hands. What should I do with these memories? Share them? Hide them? In the end, I decided to burn them, because that’s who I was, not who I am.
The next morning, with the visions of my sin still playing in my mind’s eye, I went for a walk…just Jesus, me, and my playlist. And the familiar lyrics made my heart pause: “Jesus…who stands in the fire beside me.” Every time I’ve heard these words before I’ve felt a gratitude that the Lord stands with me in every trial, but this morning, those words reminded me: I stood with you in your shame.
Jesus got so close to me that my dirt covered Him. The brutality of the cross was more than painful; it was shameful. Beaten and naked, He was mocked and forsaken. He remained there, in that awful place, for me, for all my sin. He didn’t do it because He had to, but because He wanted to. That’s how much Jesus loves me.
How long has He whispered, “Marie, I love you,” just waiting for me to hear? He called me by name, because He saw past my shame to the person He created me to be—
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that I should be called the daughter of God, and that is exactly what I am! (1 John 3:1)
About the Writer: Marie Drakulic and her husband Tony are team members with Darryl Grimes, planting Flagship FWB Church in Erie, Pennsylvania: www.flagshipchurch.com.