On Shame and Redemption (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila

SHAME

His job was to find out what caused the major production error in the company’s overseas affiliate placed under his management.

As he walked down the main factory corridor to meet with the local management team he noticed a wall filled with employee pictures captioned in the regional dialect. He wondered, in passing, if this gallery featured honored workers similar to employee recognition wall displays found in many companies in the United States.

But he soon found out it was not a wall of honor, rather, what the locals called “the wall of shame.”

When a worker here failed in some way, not only was he or she punished with a wage cut, his or her picture, captioned with  details of the failure,  was placed on the wall in this central factory walkway.

The company rep was shocked.

“Those photographs are to come down immediately,” he stated, when he met with site management. “That sort of display does not reflect our larger corporate culture or the practice of our company. We promote a climate of encouragement for our employees.”

The rep also soon discovered the name of the specific lower-level manager who, as it turned out, was to blame for the production flaw that had cost the parent corporation a big loss in time and revenue. This was failure of a much higher significance both locally and in the U.S. main office.

Although his mistake was correctable, it would have far more devastating consequences in his culture than just a photograph on the wall of shame. He would lose his job and his reputation.

The company representative had a solution for that man’s shame, too. He took the errant supervisor’s blame himself. For the company rep, protected by certain provisions for high-level managers, it would be but a minor glitch in his employee record, but he knew that the site supervisor would not only lose his job and his reputation, his family would be seriously impacted as well with permanent loss of honor in the community.

REDEMPTION

I heard this story recently and realized what an apt illustration it is for what Jesus Christ did when He took our sins upon Himself at the cross and died in our stead.

You might say He took down forever our personal “wall of shame” because “The One who did what is right died for those who don’t do right” (1 Peter 3:18 NIRV).

But that’s not all.

Jesus also took care of any daily reminders of those sins, too, like the daily reminders provided by the overseas factory’s shame wall. The Bible says that He, our “spiritual “High-Level Manager,” you might say, “removed our transgressions […] as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12, NIV).

Jesus Christ “took down,” so to speak, or removed, not just our sin and shame but even the remembrance of them.

Forever!

~~~

The culture of the world is often cruel though some, like the manager in the true story above, can help—once in awhile. This is good news.

But the best news is that in the “culture of God” there is redemption and peace for all people in all eras and from all traditions not just for the short span of a lifetime but for eternity.

Why?  Because, like a good company manager who really cares for his employees, Jesus cares for us, for me, for you.

That cross is the proof.

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16, NKJV).

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