I don’t know how many times I’ve watched The Avengers. I saw it three times in the theater and have watched it countless times at home. I still find it terribly entertaining, especially when all six Avengers finally assemble in New York City.
Less exciting, but potentially more intriguing, is the scene between Natasha Romanoff and Loki. Black Widow’s past is shrouded in secrecy but, by her own admission, there are a lot of sins for which she needs to atone. Even though Loki didn’t break Natasha down, she still admitted that there was a lot of red in her ledger.
More than any of the other Avengers, we may be able to best identify with Black Widow. She may be a well-trained assassin, but at least she’s a normal human being. She’s not a god, she’s not a super soldier and she’s not a billionaire, playboy philanthropist. Natasha is just a mere mortal attempting to wrestle with her future, her present and her past.
And perhaps that is where we most identify with her: in her wrestling with the past.
We may not be master assassins who, after getting brainwashed, were forced to kill innocent people. However, there are still some things in our past of which we’re ashamed.
If someone asked us the question, “What are you ashamed of?” we would probably have no shortage of responses.
Unkind words to a loved one.
Actions that hurt a friend.
Giving into temptation.
Natasha isn’t the only one with red in her ledger. Every sin, every small act of rebellion, adds another red mark to our ledgers. And as we continue to bleed red ink all over our lives, it’s easy to feel the weight of shame.
We’re ashamed of what we’ve done.
We’re fearful that someone might find out.
We’re embarrassed because God knows.
We don’t have to carry around that shame, though; the red in our ledgers has been washed clean.
Isaiah 1:18 says:
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
God promises to wash the red out of our lives. All the red ink has been cleansed away because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
1 John 1:9 says:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
No matter what we’ve done in our past, if we confess our sins to God then he will forgive them. He purifies us of our unrighteousness and removes our shame. God doesn’t want us focusing on our pasts and on our shame. He sent Jesus so that we could let go of our shame, leave our sin behind and move forward into the life for which we were created.
Shame is a great deterrent, but it is a terrible companion. It is a heavy companion that will weigh us down, hindering our ability to truly move forward. But we can trust that if we confess our sin to Jesus and accept his forgiveness, then he will lift that weight from our shoulders and help us experience true freedom.
And that’s even better than hanging out with a god, a super soldier and a billionaire, playboy philanthropist.
What has helped you release the weight of shame?