No Shame in That
Version 6 of the "Who Are We?" story, the biblical story of the world
In this version we see how God restores honor to humanity, and we see ourselves in Christ as worthy finishers, having the stamina and courage to endure all attacks on our worth.
Prototype story by Stan Nussbaum
Adjust as needed for your situation
Mini-story: No Shame in That
The story of the world is a story about our worth as humans.
God wants us to live like human beings not animals, but the first human couple failed miserably at that and turned human life into a dog-eat-dog experience.
Loyalty to the one Real God was the first of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses. It was the key to restoring human worth, and all the prophets kept hammering it, but Israel didn't listen.
Jesus showed us what it means to be worthy of God. When God gives you an assignment as part of his campaign to restore humanity to humanness, you stick with it to the death, trusting him for vindication on his terms.
Expanded version: No Shame in That
If the Bible is correct (as this story assumes) we humans didn’t start as uncivilized, pathetic cave men and women. We started with more honor than we have now. Look at the picture of human worth that the Bible paints in Genesis 1 and 2.
God honored the first human beings by giving them control over the rest of his creatures. He honored them by preparing a garden spot fit for a king and queen to live in, and it was virus-free. He even honored them with his presence on daily visits.
How did they respond? They disgraced themselves by eating from the one and only tree that God declared off limits! They brought God's curse on themselves and got expelled from the garden.
In the next few centuries, human life deteriorated into a shameful mess of corruption, violence, drunkenness, arrogance, and racism. Human technology evolved, but human worth didn’t. We became less human, not more.
Then God launched his multi-millennial plan to restore human worth and make humans human again. He started small, with a childless elderly couple named Abraham and Sarah.
God promised that their descendants would be enough to bless every family on earth. And it came true! Miraculously they had a son, and that son had a son who had twelve sons, each the patriarch of a clan in a whole tribe.
Later when God made his link with Abraham’s tribe official through Moses, his top demand was that they show the whole world their worth by maintaining their loyalty to him as the Real God. Sometimes they did, but before long they would quit listening and start worshiping other gods. Finally God let their enemies take them away to live in shame as a captive people in Babylon for 70 years.
When God liberated them to return to their homeland, they tried to show their loyalty and their worth by working hard to rebuild their capital, including the national Temple. They kept hoping that God would send his "Messiah," the special ruler whom the prophets predicted would restore the nation’s honor, but 400 years went by with no Messiah in sight.
Then Jesus arrived and it sounded like he might be the one. He proclaimed that God’s reign on earth was beginning, and he said what every would-be messiah says, “Trust me! Follow me!”
He healed people, he trained his followers, and he treated even poor people, outcasts, and foreigners as worthy of equal honor with all other humans. He also exposed the shameful hypocrisy of the powerful leaders of his tribe, who were exaggerating their own worth and looking down on others.
Finally in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced the crisis of his life. He prayed that he would not be killed by his enemies who wanted to put a stop to all his work, but in the end he said to God his Father, “I am going to honor you by doing this your way, not mine.”
What happened next was awful. Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, condemned, beaten savagely, then nailed naked to a cross (an execution stake) and left to die slowly in public as his enemies taunted him.
But as he accepted the disgrace, he showed us what it means to finish life honorably! As a willing human sacrifice, he showed how much we are worth to God. As one of us, he regained for the whole human race the honor that we lost in the beginning.
Two days after his burial, God the Father honored the trust of his shamefully treated Son by bringing him back to life. Jesus secretly met his stunned followers, but he did not shame them for deserting him. Instead he told them they would carry his campaign on as soon as one more thing happened. They were to wait for that event.
Then God the Father took him up to heaven to take his throne, and his followers waited. Ten days later Jesus sent his Holy Spirit down to live in them, empowering them to tell the world of his resurrection and his mercy.
Like him, his followers faced the shame of arrest, beating, jail, and even execution, but from then on, nothing could stop them. To them, being shamed for Jesus’s sake was not shame. It was a badge of honor!
Jesus empowered his movement to keep it growing. It is still growing today in spite of the fierce opposition that Jesus predicted, and it will keep growing until the set day when he comes back to bestow honors on his ambassadors. The persecutors will be ashamed that they ever lifted a finger against them.
Who are we? We are worthy finishers. Jesus’s Spirit in us gives us Jesus’s backbone. Shaming does not slow us down. Disruption of our plans does not stop our witness. We know what we are worth, and we know all human beings are worthy of an opportunity to hear this story of shame removal.
And that’s why we live the way we live and tell this story no matter what people think of us or do to us. This is our Messiah and our story. We live by it, and we are prepared to be “shamed” and to die by it. Jesus did, and look how that turned out!
Reflections on SYNCing with the story, No Shame in That
If you have already said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” Jesus has already put his Spirit into you. Now you have what it takes to finish well and honorably. So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
1. Yes, God can be trusted 100% of the time to take people like Abraham and Jesus from shame to honor as they show him respect by trusting him and doing things his way.
2. Yes, God’s whole plan revolves around the heroic courage and grit of Jesus to face the shame of execution on a cross. Jesus calls us to trust him as totally as he trusted God, his Father.
3. Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit into me to overpower my fears and give me the strength it takes to trust God no matter who tries to shame me.
4. Yes, I am going on a dangerous mission—showing mercy to everybody for everything, just like Jesus has shown mercy to me, and trusting God to honor me even if others despise me.
5. Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to give me whatever it takes to endure shameful and unfair attacks as unflinchingly as Jesus did.
If you have not yet said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” don't rush into it. Think as carefully as you would before making any other life-changing decision.
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He shows you what your God-given mission in life is, and he gives you what it takes to stick with it. His Spirit moves into your life and you become a worthy spiritual descendant of Abraham, the father of trust.
That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant when he said, “Trust me! Follow me!” You won’t get to focus on protecting yourself from human shame anymore, but you will live more courageously and honorably than you ever could have lived on your own. No matter what comes, you will have the peace God gives to those who know what they are worth in his eyes. There is no shame in that.