After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
- Luke 1:24 – 25
There are many things that we wish were no longer there. Hurtful words that we wish we could forget. Shame that we wish we could shake. Sins that condemn. Heavy stigmas that we carry because we are single, or poor, or whatever the case may be. And until Jesus comes back, these things will tempt us to despair, and so it’s good for us to reflect today on what God did for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth longed to be rid of her reproach among people. You see, when people looked at Elizabeth they thought there must be something wrong with her. She must have done something wrong to be in such a hopeless situation.
But there was nothing particularly wrong with Elizabeth. What was wrong was the way people looked at her, meaning, when people looked at Elizabeth they added to her reproach.
Here is where the story gets really good. When God looked at Elizabeth something altogether different occurred. Instead of adding to her reproach, God took it away.
When God looks at us, the same thing happens. He isn’t at all interested in adding to the shame that we carry. Instead, he wants to take it all away. And when he takes away our reproach, he removes it so far away from us that we won’t ever see it again.
You may wonder how God is able to do this. Well, in the Bible we are told, he took away our reproach by placing it on Jesus at the cross. This is why Paul says in Romans 8 that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Why? Because God took all the things in our lives that create condemnation and placed them on Jesus. So when you trust in Jesus all your sin, all your brokenness, all the hurtful words you hear are placed on Jesus and now what defines you is God’s unending love for you.
So today, in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth, make a list of all the things in your life that create feelings of guilt and shame. Perhaps it’s your sin. Perhaps it’s the situation you find yourself in. Perhaps it’s a label that has been placed on you. Perhaps it’s a lie that you believe.
Now, in prayer, give the list to God and rest, knowing that he has looked on you and he has taken away your reproach among people. Sure, other people may place hurtful labels on you, but in God’s eyes all the condemnation is gone. So live today knowing that your reproach is no longer there.