Shame and Regret Rob Us of Rest
Tiffany Ann Lewis
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This is an eternal invitation with a Divine promise that extends not only past physical and spiritual rest but also encompasses emotional rest, too. You see Biblically, in both Hebrew and Greek, the soul is defined as the seat of our emotions, feelings, passions, and desires. It is described as the inner being of man. In this glorious promise of Scripture, Jesus is offering complete rest body, soul, and spirit. Unfortunately, shame and regret are robbing many believers of their full inheritance in Christ Jesus.
If that’s something you have ever experienced, please read on because I would like to share something I learned from Jesus that has brought great rest to my soul through the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15.
In this parable, Jesus teaches us of a son who left his home and squandered all that he had on wasteful, foolish living. To make matters worse, a severe famine came upon the land. “But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.” (Luke 15:14)
There is a bit more than meets the eye here in the text. The Greek word translated as “want” here is hystereo (Strong’s #5320) and while the word does mean to be in lack, in the sense of “being in want” (as it is translated here). It also speaks of “lack” as being inferior and lacking a sense of excellence or worth. Perhaps it was that emotion that brought the son to find fellowship with a fella that raised pigs.
This shows us how far the son had drifted away. Raising pigs was a profession that was detestable to a Jew because pigs were unclean (see Lev. 11:17). However, when experiencing shame and regret, sometimes it’s easier to keep company with the lowest of low because you feel unworthy of anything better.
The parable continues. The son “came to himself” (vs 17) meaning he came to his senses, an idiom that indicates repentance. He regretted his decisions and wanted to return home and ask his father to allow him to be a servant in his house since he was no longer worthy to be called a son.
I know firsthand how hard this decision was for the young man. You see, just as sometimes it’s easier to keep company with the lowest of low when you are experiencing shame and regret, sometimes it’s also easier just to stay in the pigpen rather than face the possible rejection if you try to return. However, if we don’t pull ourselves from the pigpen and come home, we will never experience the embrace of the Father and full rest for our soul.
This is why it is so important for us to learn from Jesus here. The Lord is teaching us how our heavenly Father responds. Let’s pick up at verse 20:
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:20-24)
Shame and regret tell us lies in hopes to keep us in the pigpen.
Shame and regret don’t want us to see that the Father is continually looking for His beloved children.
Shame and regret would never allow us to see the Father run to embrace His beloved.
Shame and regret speak, “Father, I am no longer worthy to be called Your child.”
Shame and regret are silenced by the Father’s kisses, by His love, and by Him bestowing honor back upon His children.
Beloved, don’t let shame and regret keep you from coming unto Jesus and finding rest. Learn, believe, and embrace what Jesus is teaching us about our heavenly Father today. The son didn’t get cleaned and polished before returning home. He came, just as he was, and his father ran to embrace him.
Come unto Jesus and find rest for your soul today. Amen and Amen.