The Virtuous Woman and Shame

Blog #35 July 21, 2022

Looking for a church? You're in luck. They're everywhere. Look around yourself and see the number of churches in the world today. Many are magnificent edifices that seemingly portray for us the glory of the God we seek. Many are plain buildings and storefronts without adornment that will help us realize the humility of oneness the believer wishes to share with God, and many stand somewhere in between. In truth, they all have one thing in common, they are just buildings that have very little to do with the full testimony of God we seek to hold up before the world around us. Even Solomon on completion of the great temple in Jerusalem questioned the ability of a building to contain the fullness of God. 

2 Chronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
If we are to find God, I am convinced that we must look to the people. For, in truth that is where the God we seek lives. If we are to share God, we must offer from the heart, for that is where He truly dwells. 

Alma 16:235 And this I know, because the Lord has said, he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell;

As we seek the true Church of God, be aware of the challenge we face. There are many gatherings in the world that all claim to be the true one we seek. Be aware also that the Father in His love for His children gave us a way to know.

Matthew 7:27-29 
7:27 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
7:28 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
7:29 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

As I allow the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 to become a picture of the true church of God, I begin to understand what I must allow myself be and what the church around me must allow itself to become if we are to produce fruit worthy of God's true Church. In our last meeting I brought an understanding of covenant. According to that understanding covenant is a relationship based on common need that produces common purpose. God seeks to dwell within our hearts that is His need within covenant. Our need is to change our hearts that they might be an acceptable place for God to dwell. Be at peace Brethren, because God is right there to help us accomplish that change.

Mosiah 3:3 And also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Our target verse, Proverbs 31:13 brings us the virtuous woman and her responsibility to cloth the people of her family. Understand the challenge that the Church of God faces in Her need to clothe Her children in robes of righteousness.

Isaiah 64:6 But we have sinned; we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

God's children should be clothed in His righteousness. Instead, the Church and Her children face the world clothed in man's virtue. Our repentance and God's forgiveness is the joint-labor that brings about the change we need and the growth we seek. 

Alma 3:39-40 
3:39 I say unto you, Ye will know at that day, that ye can not be saved: for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white:
3:40 Yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers who should come to redeem his people from their sins.

The Spirit allows us to become aware of how we have failed God. In the face of this knowledge like the children we are, we will hang our heads in shame. Shame is a most human reaction to the process of repentance. Each of us will be face the same burden and ask the same questions. Is shame a tool to be used that we might be closer with God, or is it a trial to be overcome? Because it is such a strong presence within our efforts of growth through repentance, we need to be able to decide what to do with it. 

Samuel Clemens once said, "Man is the only animal that blushes or needs to". Is it man's created nature to be ashamed? Is it acceptable to God? Is it needed? Is it necessary? Let us walk together today and explore the challenge of shame. Accept my offering that it might become a common understanding we can share with others.    

Proverbs 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

In Solomon's time clothing for the family was the responsibility of the wife. Wool and flax were the raw materials of fabric for clothing. The task of transforming these raw materials into fabric was time-consuming and tedious, but for this woman nothing was to be left to chance. In order to assure her family clothing that was clean, strong, and comfortable she started with the raw product. Her labor was a testimony of the need within her to love and protect completely those of her house. For a woman to seek out this task willingly was an act of loving virtue. 

In God's Kingdom the labor of clothing the people falls to the woman/church. It is She who will willingly takes the raw humanity of the sinner and through the work of the Gospel, the design of the Church, and the guidance of the Spirit offers up to God a person of acceptable knowledge and persistent growth, worthy to wear the robes of righteousness. 

2 Nephi 6:34-35 
6:34 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness;
6:35 And the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.

Understand if you will the task we have accepted. In the beginning man, and woman wore nothing. They were naked before God and knew nothing but joy.

Genesis 2:31 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

In the beginning knowing no sin Adam and Eve were clothed in innocence, and a complete trust in God. As children, we are like them possessing both innocence and trust. As in the beginning, Satan seeks to destroy that trust and help us choose to trade our innocence for the chance to possess more knowledge that we are prepared to understand. For each of us very first knowledge gained was our willingness to rebel against God. It is then we realize we are naked in the face of His justice. The second is shame for choosing to know what we can never again un-know. In our shame just like Adam and Eve, we run to hide our nakedness from the eyes of God. 

Genesis 3:15-16
3:15 And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where goest thou? And he said, I heard thy voice, in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself.
3:16 And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, if so thou shouldst surely die?

With the onset of sin in the life of man, our innocent relationship with God was forever changed. Our knowledge of good and evil coupled with our gift of free will gives us the ability to choose against God, realize that this choice is wrong, and feel in our hearts the full affect of that wrong choice. In short, we can now be ashamed. 

God knows that shame is both powerful and distracting. Left to run freely in the heart of man it can overshadow and deter man's ability to fully repent and move on with his growth in God. Both Adam and Eve felt shame because of their nakedness. God covered them with animal skins that they might forget their shame and move on to the work of repentance.

Genesis 3:27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them. 

Remember, God covered Adam and Eve. In fact this was the very first time animal sacrifice was used for covering the sins of man. Were their sins gone? Absolutely not, but they were no longer handicapped by the crippling burden of shame for their sin. They no longer hid from God. By realizing the sin they had committed, they recognized that God's justice is unavoidable. In that realization they opened their hearts to God's mercy, turned away from shame, and sought out redemption through the change and growth that comes in true repentance. I am convinced that shame hampers our ability to walk the path to God's mercy and the fullness of redemption. When we as believing children hold up our shame as a payment for our sins, we cheapen Christ's sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. When we accept that forgiveness but retain the shame in our hearts we testify to the world of both our doubt in the ability of God to forgive and the true scope of the forgiveness He offers. Like Adam and Eve, we must accept the covering given by God, forget our nakedness, and move forward toward redemption.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Hebrews 10:16-17 
10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

DC 58:9c Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remembereth them no more.

These passages of scripture prove the fullness of forgiveness offered to us by God. In this mankind can be truly free to move away from sin and move on to the labor of redemption. The testimony of shame does nothing but hamper both our self and those who take our shame as an example of how to grow in God. Imagine trying to run a race in the mud. Shame hinders our covenant labor in much the same way. God gives us dry ground to run on. He is both our Father and our biggest cheerleader. He wants us to win the race and join Him in His Kingdom, but even free of shame the race we run is not without challenges. In shame we constantly keep alive in our minds that which separated us from God. Brethren throw them away. Just, throw them away. When we refuse to forget we cause God to remember. 

Jeremiah 14:10 Thus saith the Lord unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Our discussion on sin and shame would not be complete if we fail to recognize man's ability to respond to God and His grace. If we return to our sin it will be remembered, but this is our choice. Try this little exercise and discover the power we have over the sin in our lives. Stand in a field and point with one hand to the east and one hand to the west. How far is east from west? At our belly button they meet, at the ends of our finger they are apart, at the limit of our vision they are greatly separated. How far are you from your sin? The choice is yours. 

Proverbs 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

Brethren, examine closely the loving virtue in the labor of the woman/church. She finds a product in its raw state and diligently causes it to be transformed into that which she seeks because she knows the needs of her family. Whether it is wool, flax, or the human spirit, her efforts help change it allowing it to come to a full measure of its creation. The Church in the fullness of its creation is the nurturing entity that realizes humanities full potential and acts in concert with God's Spirit to create a fellowship worthy of their desire to become God's children. It is then we realize that the fullest measure of our creation is the ability to live as a child of God, free from the lust of the world, and freed from the shame that would hinder us. In that fullness we allow ourselves a deep abiding fellowship with each other, the Spirit, which guides us, Christ who both lived and died for us, and the Father that loves us. 

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

We are freed to become a testimony to others of God at work in our life and His willingness to work in their life, too. The gathering of a covenanted people seeking to be Christ's Church is a garden where the seed of righteousness grows to become the fruits of charity that will nourish and sustain the ways of God in the world of man. 

Isaiah 61:9-11 
61:9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.
61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
61:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

We come to join God creating the fruits of righteousness. Shame is a fruitless effort.
Throw it away.


1 Comment

  1. cfzt says:

    Once again you have nailed the duties of the church and its true adornment. Revelation 19.7-8.

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