Ashamed of My Faith?
I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 2 Timothy 1:12
The other day, someone asked me what I did over the weekend. As I listed off the activities of the day prior, I mentioned that I went to church with my family. I had no idea where this other individual was at with his faith, and strangely, I found myself hesitant to mention church. I had this involuntary, almost subconscious impulse to not bring it up, I think in some strange fear of being seen as a “religious nut”.
The ironic thing is, I’ve been known for far worse. In my addiction, I participated in terribly self-destructive behavior and when it came to light, I was terribly ashamed. In seeking recovery, I went to God, asking him what I had to do to change. I came to understand that I had to make a daily genuine effort to abandon my way for his. I found myself worried about becoming a religious nut. I told God as much. He made it clear that at that point, everyone saw me as an addict who’d lost his job. Suddenly, being a religious nut didn’t seem so bad.
In today’s passage, Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed. Paul’s words give the impression that Timothy was timid, so Paul commanded him to be bold. Paul was imprisoned, facing death for his faith, but still he was unashamed. For I know whom I have believed. Even the threat of death couldn’t change or take away his relationship with God and he was not about to allow anyone to make him feel ashamed of the most important thing in his life. Frankly, it simply didn’t matter what the world thought of his faith.
Early in my recovery, I was nearly overwhelmed by my shame. I was told to let go and forgive myself, which I didn’t find to be terribly helpful. I’d hurt those I loved most. Just letting it go didn’t seem honest. So, I used the misery of that shame to turn my life in a different direction. For me, the solution to my shame was in turning my life around. In my faith and recovery then, I should never be ashamed.
It’s natural for us to want to fit in and it’s also natural to realize that our faith may be viewed as silly by some. We should never be embarrassed by our faith though. I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed. Frankly, if our faith is the most important thing in our lives, then it simply doesn’t matter what the world thinks of it.