26 I write these things to you about those who are attempting to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains on you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you the truth. But since his anointing teaches you about all things (it’s true and not a lie), remain in relationship to him just as he taught you.
Remaining until Jesus appears
28 And now, little children, remain in relationship to Jesus, so that when he appears we can have confidence and not be ashamed in front of him when he comes.
American research professor, Brene Brown, famously once wrote: “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
Shame, guilt, fear live at the heart of much of our day-to-day decision making. We don’t share the parts of ourselves that we fear will be judged. We allow people into our inner circles who don’t bring us joy out of guilt. We allow the shame that lives inside us torment us into living as a person we don’t dream of being. In today’s text, John the Evangelist, introduces the idea of living daily in relationship with Christ – allowing that to dictate the way we live and behave, not our shame – so that in front of God, we can stand shoulder back, chin up, confident in who we are. We are being called to live, not without mistakes, but without an intent to harm, without actions or words that we feel we have to hide. What would it look like to live this honestly? What would it look like to make decisions and speak in ways that we would be okay with anyone and everyone knowing about?
To add Brown’s quote into this thought, what would it also look like to hear the complicated, messy stories of others with empathy and understanding, instead of judgement? When we fear ourselves of our shame, we can also help others be free from theirs.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
We are often molding ourselves to be something we aren’t because of the shame we experience from those around us. It could be the way we dress, the way we speak, the television shows we watch – anything. What if the true witness to Christ is our living openly and honestly as we are?
Prayer: Loving God, you have created each of us so uniquely lovely. Fear has made us hide parts of ourselves that you wish for us to share with others. We sometimes get weighed down by the shame we fear that you already know all about. We can hide nothing from you. May we live in a way that brings joy to who Christ is in the world. Amen.