I love the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52.
Bartimaeus was a blind man, a beggar sitting by the road when Jesus and His disciples passed by. Bartimaeus was a man whose life was marked by shame. During that time period, disabilities were reasons to cast out people rather than care for them. Not only that, but begging for food and money was not an esteemed position. Yet, the Messiah – the King of the World – saw Bartimaeus and chose to listen to his voice out of the large crowd. Many in the crowd tried to silence Bartimaeus because they didn’t believe his voice was worthy, but Jesus stopped and told His disciples to let the man come to Him.
Jesus, the one from whom our help comes, saw Bartimaeus, a man marked by shame and blindness, healed him, and called him to new identity in Him. He went from a life of shame to a life in Christ.
What Jesus did for Bartimaeus, He does for us as well.
Each of us have unique stories, with our individual heartaches and shame. We all have sin and moments we’d like to forget. When we allow shame to have its way with us, when we allow it to be the strongest voice in our head and have a stronghold on our hearts, we allow Satan to keep us from a burgeoning faith like the one Bartimaeus displayed.
What do we do to fight the shame that plagues us?
Hebrews 12:2 says, “…keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We fix our eyes on Jesus and remember He, too, endured shame. The shame He endured was to give us faith and eternal life with Him. His work on the cross paid for every bad thing we’ve done and every bad thing done to us. He paid for our shame and gave us the gift of faith in its place so, like Bartimaeus, we can exchange our shame for a life in Christ.
One of my favorite verses in the book of Psalms says, “I look up toward the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord the Creator of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).
When shame creeps up, when the world or crowds tell us otherwise, we do what Bartimaeus did: we look to Jesus. We cry out to Him. We do exactly what the psalmist in Psalm 121 did. We look to that hill on Golgotha and know exactly where our help comes from: the Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth. We remember the Savior of the world had mercy on us and endured a shameful death so we could shed our shame and become sons and daughters of God on High. This is our anthem. This is our song. It’s this song of faith that gives us freedom from our shame and freedom to live rooted deeply in Christ.
Dear sisters, may your faith be bigger than your shame today. If it’s not, may you rest knowing your identity in Him is greater than anything else that tries to define us – especially our shame.
Brittany Salmon is a freelance writer, an adjunct professor of Global Studies, and an equipping minister for her local church. She is also an orphan care and prevention advocate, and a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She spends her free time eating Chick-fil-A and exploring her new home state of Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog, Mr. Tom Hanks. You can see what she’s up to on Twitter or Instagram.
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