Posted by Gary on May 21, 2012
“Therefore, thought I, what God says is best, is indeed best, though all the men in the world are against it.”
On Christian’s journey to the Celestial City he finally finds a companion to travel with by the name of “Faithful”. As they first meet, they recount their individual journeys, the events and people they have met with.
Faithful mentions that while in the Valley of Humility (this being the process of God humbling a person so that they may be saved) he met a Mr. Shame. One might think in the Valley of Humility this Mr. Shame was a person who had come to know shame for his own life and actions but Faithful points out quickly that his shame is not in regard to himself but that he seeks to make Christians feel ashamed of their religion.
Faithful relates to Christian in great detail Mr. Shame’s objection to Christianity:
“…he objected against religion itself. He said it was a pitiful, low, sneaking business for a man to mind religion. He said, that a tender conscience was an unmanly thing; and that for a man to watch over his words and ways, so as to tie up himself from that liberty that the brave spirits of the times accustomed themselves unto, would make him the ridicule of the times. He objected also, that but few of the mighty, rich, or wise, were ever of my opinion; nor any of them neither, before they were persuaded to be fools, and to be of a voluntary fondness to venture the loss of all for nobody knows what. 1 Cor. 1:26; 3:18;Phil. 3:7-9; John 7:48.
He, moreover, objected the base and low estate and condition of those that were chiefly the pilgrims of the times in which they lived; also their ignorance and lack of understanding in all natural science. Yes, he did hold me to it at that rate also, about a great many more things than here I relate; as, that it was a shame to sit whining and mourning under a sermon, and a shame to come sighing and groaning home; that it was a shame to ask my neighbor forgiveness for my faults, or to make restitution where I have taken from any.
Mr. Shame’s goal is to make the Christian ashamed of their relationship to Christ and the way of life that Christ has ordained for His disciples. You know how this goes right? You are with a group of friends and they are talking about someone who is not there and you feel this is not right and as you feel you should say something Mr. Shame whispers in your ear about how your friends get a little weary of your tender conscience. This happens with movies your friends want to watch or places they want to go.
In a thousand ways every day the Christian hears the Word of God in His heart saying, “Walk this way” and “That is not true”. Not because we are wise, but because God has given us eyes to see we are aware of the lost estate of family and friends and our hearts and burdened and we are burdened by our own sins.
All the while, Mr. Shame chides us, “Who do you think you are to tell someone else what they need to do?” or as I can remember one co-worker saying to me years ago in the break room as I read my Bible as was my custom, “Don’t you ever read anything else?”
Jesus knows about Mr. Shame and warns us even as He promises:
Luke 9:24-26 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Christian, Jesus is not ashamed to declare that He loves us. Let us not be ashamed to declare that we love Him. For a moment Faithful admits that he couldn’t find an answer to Mr. Shame’s arguments but then God helped him. Listen carefully, take his words to heart and pray that God will make you and me like Faithful:
“But at last I began to consider, that that which is highly esteemed among men, is had in abomination with God. Luke 16:15. And I thought again, this Shame tells me what men are; but he tells me nothing what God, or the word of God is. And I thought, moreover, that at the day of doom we shall not be doomed to death or life according to the mocking spirits of the world, but according to the wisdom and law of the Highest.
Therefore, thought I, what God says is best, is indeed best, though all the men in the world are against it. Seeing, then, that God prefers his religion; seeing God prefers a tender Conscience; seeing they that make themselves fools for the kingdom of heaven are wisest, and that the poor man that loves Christ is richer than the greatest man in the world that hates him; Mr. Shame, depart, you are an enemy to my salvation. Shall I entertain you against my sovereign Lord? How then shall I look him in the face at his coming? Mark 8:38. Should I now be ashamed of his ways and servants, how can I expect His blessing?
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