If you are a teenager or an adult, at some point in your life you have been embarrassed to be seen with your parents. They weren’t cool enough. They were pointing out things about you or picking at you in ways you didn’t appreciate. Maybe you were trying to impress someone you had a crush on and the last thing you wanted was for your mom or dad to be in the picture. I think we’ve all been there. That’s a part of life. But while it’s one thing to be embarrassed about your parents for an occasion (notice I didn’t say all the time), it’s never okay to be embarrassed about your Savior.
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. – Luke 9:26, ESV
This just doesn’t include the fact that you go to church, or that you call yourself a Christian, or that you are seen as a “goody two shoes” by your acquaintances. It also means the very words of Scripture itself. He made sure we understood that when He said, “of me and of my words.” So maybe there’s a particular teaching we don’t like a whole lot because it hits close to home. Or maybe we’re interacting with a group of folks of whom the teaching is applicable to. You can’t be ashamed of the words of Scripture. I can’t pick and choose when I want to apply them. Not if we truly love Christ.
A classic example is when there’s some off-color humor among the crowd and you want to fit in. While you may not say anything, by sticking around you’re giving tacit agreement to the words that are being used. We’re not to be a part of coarse joking (Ephesians 5:4). Sooner or later someone is going to call us on it. Then what do we do? I can think of some of the responses, “Hey, guys, while those jokes aren’t for me, we’re cool, because you’re my friends,” or “It’s okay, because I’m not the one saying the jokes,” or some other justification. But aren’t we being ashamed of Jesus’ words? Now I’m not saying we shut things down and say, “You fools! Stop this nonsense right now!” That’s not the right approach, either. But excusing yourself probably is. If asked we should respond with something like, “Well, I know you guys like these kinds of jokes and if you want to tell them, it’s not for me to tell you to stop. But based on my beliefs, this isn’t something I can hang around in and participate in. You guys are my friends, but this is just something I’ll have to skip on.” Friends will understand. Real friends will even modify their behavior so you can participate and stick around. Folks who get offended? They aren’t thinking about you. And that’s really all that needs to be said about that.
There are so many examples where we, by our action or inaction, show that we are ashamed of Christ or His Word. We need to stop. We need to put our hearts right and love Him and love His Word more than we love our own comfort or desire to fit in. Our fleshly nature will always rebel against us. We should expect this and be prepared for it. After all, we don’t want Christ to be ashamed of us before the Father. He’s our only way for forgiveness. He’s the exclusive way to heaven. This is what Scripture teaches. We say He is right and perfect and just and loving. Our actions and our hearts should reflect that. Don’t be ashamed of the Savior or His Word.