Have you ever felt shame? Most of us have never experienced having our shame paraded in front of everyone as our governor has recently had done on the front page of every newspaper, including the New York Times. Perhaps we carry our shame around like an unfortunate sidekick—tucked conveniently forgotten in a pocket or carefully protected by a disguise of respectability.
I have started watching the series, Mad Men. It is not a series for an immature audience, as many of the characters drink and smoke their way through a life of sin and depravity. As I watch each episode, I enjoy watching the opening graphic of a man in a suit falling among the skyscrapers of New York’s commercial district; the buildings are splashed with ads, presumably created by the main character, Don Draper, and his cohorts at Sterling Cooper. I am in Season 5, so we don’t yet know how Don Draper will be redeemed in the end; however, I am sure he is Adam and I hope for his restoration. [I don’t like spoilers, so if you already know the ending of the series, please do not tell me.] At the point where I am currently watching, Don harbors a hidden shame—a secret past–that has been partially, but still not publicly, exposed.
When Jesus was tried and executed almost 2000 years ago, the Sanhedrin planned for His crucifixion to be the public exposition of shame. It was intended to be the revelation of sin and its earned punishment, because this is the basis for a just society. There was only one problem: He was innocent. Instead, His public shame became my private cleansing. Instead of getting what He deserved—a crown and royal robe—He took upon himself my shame and killed it forever so I could have what I could not earn—a future with God for eternity.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged Cross–
The emblem of suff’ring and shame.
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
‘Til my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged Cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
Now, I don’t have to carry that shame around with me any longer. I can confess my sin, knowing He will not condemn, even though He is the most worthy of judges.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and will purify us from all unrighteousness. [I John 1:9]
If God is for us, who can be against us? [Romans 8:31]
I hope Don Draper finds reconciliation with his past and that Betty can lose the 30 pounds she has gained. I hope the governor will confess his sin and repent, asking for his wife’s and the public’s forgiveness. I hope I will always have the courage to take my private shame out of my pocket so that God can see what He already knows is there.