Question:

I was hoping to get some clarification on "shame" as far as one's faith in Jesus goes. I was baptized last yearand have being trying to obey Jesus' teachings, but have fallen short on pretty much everything! In the beginning, I dealtwith a lot ofworldly sorrow, self-condemnation, and distrust of the Lord's love for me, but I believe He is answering my prayers to better understand that love. There are many things I still need to work on, and I imagine I will be trying to improve for the rest of my life, but one thing I am particularly worried about is shame.

My church aims to follow the biblical example of Christ's church that is found in the book of Acts. More specifically, and in the context of my question, we seek to find opportunities to share our faith with people in our lives, especially on our local college campuses. Growing up, I was very timid, shy, afraid, and had issues with social anxiety. I find myself overcome with anxiety when the thought of sharing my faith in Jesus enters my mind. During a normal college semester, our church's campus ministry organizes Bible discussions on campus. Prior to these discussions, we take about 30 minutes to walk around the university to invite people to partake, and so we share our faith in that way. That alone makes me very nervous, but I still end up sharing my faith, regardless. Sometimes I am able to share with multiple people, while sometimes I allow my anxiety to win and I end up sharing with only one person, or none at all (I'm usually with another person when we share our faith, so in this situationI allow them to do the talking). The idea of sharing my faith with a large group of people terrifies me, but sharing my faith with people on an individual basis isn't too hard, though I still feel anxiety.

My concern is that these feelings I have mean that I'm "ashamed" of Jesus Christ. I sought advice from a brother in a sister church, and he believes I need a better understanding of God's grace and that I'm not ashamed, but rather shy. I do have a tendency to think the worst of myself, and I can project that onto God and beat myself up over things, but I want the truth; is this indicative of shame in my heart toward Jesus that I need to repent of? If it is, do you know of ways that I can push myself past this?I know you give people straight answers and you don't sugar coat, which I appreciate. I would appreciate any form of honest correction, admonishment, or rebuke you can offer. Thank you for your time!


Answer:

When Jesus said, "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" (Luke 9:26), he is talking about a person who is embarrassed about being a Christian or embarrassed about the faith that he follows. This doesn't describe you. You are nervous about striking up conversations with complete strangers -- something that is very common. This doesn't just happen when you talk about the Bible, you have the same difficulty in other situations as well.

Everyone of us don't have the same abilities. "Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:6-8). Some people are good at walking up to strangers and getting a conversation going. But that isn't the only way the gospel is spread. Dorcas made an impact by making clothing. "Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did" (Acts 9:36). Some are good at teaching. However, what they all have in common is that they weren't embarrassed that people knew they were Christians and followed the Bible. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

Therefore, use the abilities that you do have as ways to let your light shine in your own unique way. "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain" (Philippians 2:14-16).