Shame as Suffering for the Gospel
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God (2 Tim 1:8 NKJV).
Shame is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. When we connect this word and the Gospel, it is an interesting mix. According to the definition, wrong or foolish behavior usually leads to shame.
But how do we see sharing the gospel as wrong or foolish behavior? Although there is nothing inherently wrong or foolish with sharing the gospel, we may experience shame.
This shame may come from fear of ridicule and humiliation by others. So Paul is instructing Timothy to deal with his fear that leads to shame, which may have kept him from boldly sharing the gospel.
After dealing with shame, Timothy is asked to share in the sufferings for the gospel. Sharing implies solidarity and oneness. Paul seems to be taking the idea of shame and directly linking it with the reality of sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
Paul experienced beatings, ridicule, and various other abuses because of the gospel he preached. He related all these as sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
But here in 2 Timothy, experiencing shame is described as sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
Next time you feel ashamed of telling others about your faith in Jesus, think of yourself as a co-sufferer with Jesus. What a glorious way to share and to suffer.
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