There is nothing more paralyzing than the feeling of shame after loss. It was 3 o’clock in the morning on April 5, 1956. Newspaper columnist Victor Riesel walked from a Manhattan restaurant toward his car with a couple of friends. Suddenly, a young man jumped from the shadows and threw a liquid into Riesel’s eyes. It was an acid which blinded him. A month later, doctors told him he would never be able to see again.
Riesel wrote about his feelings after the experience: “There was no terror at the moment when I knew I had crossed the line into permanent darkness. There was only a sudden feeling of shame. I was afraid that people would treat me too gently or shy away from me as though from a freak. And suddenly, I wondered if I could go on writing and earning a living.”
Riesel eventually overcame his feelings of shame and embarrassment, but many Christians never overcome these emotions. For the rest of their lives, shame keeps them from serving Christ.
Romans 8:37 uses the phrase, “more than conquerors” to describe believers. If it’s true, then we shouldn’t be walking around like defeated losers. People may throw the acid of gossip and slander at us to make us ashamed when we do things they cannot understand. They may shy away from us as though we are troublemakers. The pain of a situation may cause us to wonder if it’s even worth trying to pick up the broken pieces and move forward. But nothing can change who we are in Christ. He has already said we’re more than conquerors through Him.
Other people might treat you like a loser because of your failures, shortcomings, and sins, but that doesn’t mean you have to see yourself that way. If you find your identity in Christ, then the way others respond to you won’t matter. What they say about you (whether true or untrue) won’t get you down. You can walk like a champion because Christ said you’re more than a conqueror through Him.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder