Psalm 119:1-8 (NLT)
1 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!
Psalms 119 is a special psalm in that it is twice as long as many of the others. Its contents reflect David’s thoughts over a period of time. It is though he amassed links of a chain and then properly fit them all together in this psalm. David expresses in these verses the joy that comes from following God’s commands. David desires his own actions would reflect the obedience of those commands. There is no shame for the righteous. David’s desire is to be righteous in God’s sight. David then asks God not to give up on him for he knows he is not perfect and needs God’s help.
Shame is a powerful emotion caused by the consciousness of guilt. One therapist once said shame is the emotion that lets us know we are finite. It is possible to feel shame and no one else around you even know the pain you are going through. When shame is revealed there can also an associated feeling of embarrassment. But shame and embarrassment differ in that shame relates to morally wrong qualities, while embarrassment can be morally neutral, but socially unacceptable. Genuine shame is a reflection of our own guilt knowing others will not approve. For those who believe in God shame comes from knowing God does not approve and our actions are in opposition to His commands. There is a false shame or toxic shame that comes from the sin of others but is passed on to another person. The false shame creates the feeling of guilt for a sin not committed, but endured by the hands of another. An example of false shame is the feeling of shame created in a victim by an abuser. The person feels as though they did something to cause the abuse and are therefore ashamed of what happened. How can a person who was following in the path of God and then abused be responsible for the shame of another? They are not. David says those who walk in God’s ways have joy and therefore have no need to be ashamed. And even if we turn from God for a moment, God is not going to give up on us. We may feel the shame of our sin, but God forgives, heals, and removes the shame. Is there a shame in your life you are not responsible for? Ask God to release you from it and place it on the person responsible. And if you have sinned, ask God to release you from the shame of sin and restore you through His grace and mercy.