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Changing the message on our church sign is a job that another person in our church and I share. Since I don't really want to have that responsibility all of the time, I am glad to have someone else who is willing to help. Recently, however, this person put a message on the sign that I felt was in bad taste. In fact, it was downright offensive, in my opinion. It was one of those cutsie messages that gives a spiritual message with a rather sarcastic slam of humor to it.

When I realized that I wasn't the only one who felt that way about the message on the sign, I knew I would need to change it. I didn't want to do it immediately as that would be obvious, and I didn't want to hurt the person's feelings. After a couple of weeks, however, I knew it just had to go. I just felt that the purpose of getting a sign for our church was not to insult the passersby, even if it was done in humor.

So, I found a nice Thanksgiving message and gathered the letters to put on the sign. As I went out to the street to actually change the sign, however, I had a feeling of dread. A feeling of being...ashamed. If people see me putting this sign up, I thought, they might assume I'm the one who put the last one up! The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. I mean, why should I take the shame of the insulting act that I had nothing to do with and that I didn't approve of myself? I decided to be quick about it. I'd just speed out there, pull that old message off as fast as I could and throw the next one up before anyone even noticed I was there. Yep, that was the plan.

I Couldn't Deny It

As I carried out my plan, however, another feeling came over me. Well, actually, it was the same feeling. Again, I was ashamed, but this time I was ashamed of myself! An image of Jesus fell before my eyes as the Holy Spirit stung me with the realization of how many times Jesus has taken my shame on himself. It was true, and I couldn't deny it.  He has taken my shame on Himself, allowing his own good name to be compromised by my behavior.

I thought of the Body of Christ and how the other person who put up the previous message on our sign is just as precious and necessary as I am or as anyone else is. Besides, I didn't know the circumstances behind the choice of message? Maybe the person was in a hurry or just plain didn't think about it carefully. Whatever the reason, we are called to work in unity as equal members of the Body.

Hebrews 2:11 says, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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