Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:14-20 NIV)
We serve a God Who has come to us, Who became one of us to reverse the curse of shame that we inflicted on ourselves. Who has finished shame ... erased guilt ... so if you're walking in either of those today, thinking the Lord sees you in that light ... take those to Him and have a conversation with Him about it and let Him wash over you how much He rejoices in you, His child. YOU, a child of the living God.
If you are in an accountability-type relationship with a friend or mentor and they are inflicting shame on you for something that you've stepped into that you shouldn't have, you're within your right as a child of God to speak up. You can say, "Thank you for caring so much, but Jesus doesn't talk to me like you're talking to me about this. He restores me gently, and He doesn't draw the attention of others to my downfall."
To take this a step further, I'd argue that this is something you want to be in prayer over for your friend because it's likely that they've had a friend who saw fit to draw attention to things they've struggled with and it's inflicted major shame on them in the past. Perfect love drives out fear because of its strength. It speaks up when things aren't quite right. In fact, it took on flesh to do just that.
Challenging the status quo is one of the first qualities of leadership. If you are a leader, or you want to be at some point, recognize right now that if you've found yourself in a position similar to this, the enemy is working at warp speed to thwart the plan of the Lord over your life and it's your job to reclaim it. But, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)
PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR BECAUSE OF ITS STRENGTH.
And as you let the Lord wash truth over you about how He sees you, remember how kind and generous the Lord has been to speak kindly to you in your trouble before you speak shrewdly to the heart of another in blame or shame. Blame and shame are tactics that we use as behavioral modification mechanisms, and they only work to push people deeper into the hurt that perpetuates the decisions that keeps hearts far from their Father. And the truth is, shame and blame serve only to change a behavior in public and only for a short time because the "why" is not only of little value, it's void of value.
Sit across the table from pain, listen to the story, speak life into the heart of the hurting one and let Jesus slowly put wind back in their sails. You can't be the judge on the earth for the souls that are stepping into things that don't quite line up with what God has for them, but you can serve people well by being willing to hear their story and to walk through life with them.
Maybe you walk at a distance for a while, careful not to let the things taking root in their heart start to take root in yours, but walk nonetheless ... because grace doesn't find us in the pit and speak kindly to us just to leave us there. And love void of truth is just placation, so love with strength of spirit and of heart because people appreciate honesty much more than they do appeasement.
He is erasing your shame today and replacing it with praise and He wants you to know that He sees you and He rejoices in His creation and He's calling you out of hiding and into a beautiful life of fullness in Him. His heart is so for you. Let Him be for you.