2 Timothy 1:8 - “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God”
Peter and the disciples scattered when Christ was on his way to the cross. They were ashamed of him and the consequences that might come with being associated with him. Peter famously denied he even knew Jesus or had even been in his presence:
Luke 22:59–60 - And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”
So, too, as Paul sits in jail writing this letter to Timothy, most have deserted him, fearful of the consequences in being associated with him, unwilling to bear any burden in helping him though he had helped them.
And what about me? I’m quite afraid of having the badge “Christian” put on me. It feels I’ll be thought of us uncool, judgmental, a jerk, small-minded, and other negative things. I fear I may miss out on opportunities I’d otherwise have because others will view me as so “weird.” I’m scared of hard questions about the faith, some of which also confuse me.
I don’t want the consequences that come from the truth: that I believe in Jesus. I remain generally ashamed to show this publicly. And that bugs me. It’s an odd kind of hypocrisy. In normal hypocrisy, we speak good things but live in a bad way. With “faith shame hypocrisy,” we believe good things but don’t speak them at all.
Why was Paul unashamed? We may have a clue when Paul mentions again that he’s unashamed:
2 Timothy 1:12 - “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed.”
Paul didn’t focus on the consequences of knowing Jesus. He focused on Jesus himself.
Besides at the Cross, there was another time Peter lost sight of Jesus - when he walked on the water:
Matthew 14:28-30 - “And Peter answered [Jesus], “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” (emphasis mine)
May we see Jesus and keep ourselves fixed on him.
May we not play a part either - saying and doing things that don’t flow naturally from us - trying to stir up some kind of forced Christian-y fluff that’s fake.
May we only speak the truth about what we know and believe. May we be honest where we’re unsure of things.
There is a “testimony about our Lord” widely missing from the world today!
Luke 14:34–35 - “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?”
Many Christians do not act as salt, as preserving the testimony about Jesus. I don’t. I, myself, may have some taste of salt, but I know where I’m ashamed - where I’m not acting as salt.
May God make us the precious salt we should be as we merely express our experience of him, come what may.
May we speak and live according to who we really are!
Matthew 5:14–16 - “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”