Don’t forget to hide your shame!

Posted: June 25, 2014 by boydmonster in Uncategorized

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.

James 1:9-11

But let Him who boasts, boast in the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:17

You all know that guy. The one who is always bragging. The one who seems to be a superhero in his own eyes. The one who you’re pretty sure is either making up stories or using other people’s stories as his own. You all know how ridiculous his efforts are. The thing is that if he just stopped with all the posturing, if he were just himself, if he didn’t try so hard, people might like him a bit more. It’s ironic, isn’t it? He wants admiration so badly that he drives it away.


Are we all that different though? Ever get in that conversational game of “That’s nothing” to prove your story is better than theres? Don’t you know what it’s like to talk about how busy you are and how you don’t have a second to yourself all the while thinking subconsciously that busyness proves your worth? What do you say when someone asks how your day is going when it’s not going that great and you don’t have a good reason for it?

Why do we do this? We do it to cover our shame. Shame, it has been said, is the universal human experience. There isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t had the desire to have the earth swallow them up alive. Each of us has some corner of our life that we’d rather die than have exposed. We all have the sense that somehow we’re inadequate. Even those who seem most confident often appear different on the outside than they feel on the inside. Their boasting is just a fig leaf to cover up their nakedness in the hopes that it can distract others. They boast not because of their confidence, but because they’re terrified of being exposed.

James tells us “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation and the rich in his humiliation.” As we said this past Sunday, we normally do the exact opposite of this. If we are poor or lowly, we boast that we haven’t been born with a silver spoon. We only have what we’ve earned. Or perhaps our boasting looks more like contempt. “I deserve better than this.” We’re sure that we merit something better than our lowly conditions. If we’re rich, we boast in that. Perhaps we talk about how ‘blessed’ we are. Or we look down on others who aren’t willing to make the sacrifices we’ve made to get where we are. We try to salve the guilt we feel for having more than others by focusing on how much we give. Or how down to earth we are, not like those other rich people. Perhaps our wealth comes with enough social capital that we walk through life thinking our opinions and desires are more valid than others. “Do you have any idea who I am?” In either case, we have some shame. Shame that we are not like others.

What is James telling us to do? He’s telling us to be honest with our current condition and remember our eternal condition. Don’t try to make your condition appear as if it’s something different than what it is. If your condition is lowly, own it. You make your boast in this, that you might have nothing in this life, but you are destined to inherit the Kingdom of God. If you are rich (and, but the way, compared to the rest of the world most people in America are rich) admit it. And boast in your lowliness. “You think I’m rich? Do you know how much care it takes to deal with this? I’m going to lose all of this and I don’t even know when. Oh could devote more of my care to the kingdom.” You see, what we normally think is to our glory is usually to our shame. But the Lord Jesus Christ, who is rich in mercy, has taken our shame upon Himself that He might clothe us in His glory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s