FREEDOM FROM REPROACH
by Shelly Mathis
Do you find yourself inhibited, unable to be whom God has destined you to be?
Rehearsing what others have said about you?
Replaying past failures?
It is time to be free... truly free!
Releasing those who have reproached us is a requirement to experiencing that exhilarating, joyous liberty that is ours by right of covenant blessing.
The Lord revealed to me that there are six sources of reproach that hold Christians in bondage. I will describe these sources and then talk about how to get free from reproach.
Six Sources of Reproach
1.) Basic Reproach
Rejection means “to refuse to accept, submit to, believe, or make use of.” Rejection mostly speaks of disagreement.
As Christians, we are required to test the spirits and refuse to accept what is false and of the flesh or the devil. Do you realize that we can be in disagreement with someone without condemning and reproaching them?
Apart from condemnation, disagreement can be by the spirit. However, when our flesh gets involved, it becomes a hurtful thing and opposes Christ in others.
Reproach is defined as “disapproval, disappointment (in someone), criticism, disdain, shame, and blame.”
Reproach takes rejection beyond being in disagreement to actually condemning the person. It is the pinnacle of rejection. Reproach is a work of the fallen nature and is sin.
Additionally, reproach goes forth as a curse, which opens the door to demonic attack from the spirit of antichrist. What is the nature of antichrist? It is against Christ in you, against His anointing in you.
If we were honest, we can see right now that we have not only been the victims of reproach, but the perpetrators, as well. Individuals, families, churches, entire towns, ethnic groups, nations, etc. can all take on reproach.
You can discern the curse of reproach because it manifests in your soul.
know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; my adversaries are all before You.
20Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
You will have heaviness and sorrow of heart – the very opposite of joy and liberty.
The second evidence of reproach is unfruitfulness. The curse of reproach unleashes a curse of unfruitfulness or barrenness against you. You become a “closed earth.” The Lord taught that a good heart is like good, rich soil that produces an abundant harvest. A “closed earth” would be ground that is hard, fallow, and unproductive.
When you maintain your position of reproach – whether as the perpetrator or victim – you establish a barrier between yourself and the Lord and others. You shut yourself off and close your heart in. It is a spiritual condition that prohibits spiritual fruitfulness and productivity in the Kingdom.
Consider the Israelites when they returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. When they began to rebuild the temple, their enemies wrote letters of reproach against them and persuaded the king to force them to cease their work. The people abandoned what God called them to do and went about seeking to build their own houses.
The Lord revealed that when they accepted the reproach of their enemies it produced a curse of unfruitfulness upon the work of their hands:
3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”
5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!
6 “You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Are you flourishing in the Kingdom or do you find
yourself barren and dry? Your destiny in the Kingdom of God is to be free, to be
His garden of renown (Ezekiel 34:26-29). To be so, it is imperative that you
roll away all the reproach you have received or given.
2.) The Reproach of the World (AKA Reproach Against Righteousness)
The spirit of antichrist is at enmity with God, and thus with His people. He is the influencing force in the world, and thus the world disdains God, God’s people, and righteousness.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Jesus said that we would be reproached by the world because the world first reproached Him. Most likely we have all experienced this... at work, by friends, or from family who are not Christians. They do not understand our love for Him, our devotion to Him. Those who reproach us will openly manifest their disapproval—cursing us with shame and disdaining our devotion to follow the Lord.
When you accept this type of reproach, you open the door to demonic attack and curses. You can know that you have done this because you will feel hindered, opposed, closed in, unfruitful. This curse hinders you more than we know, especially if you yield to the fear of man.
You do not have to accept the curse! The Word of God declares you will be reproached by the world, but you do not have to allow it to remain as a curse. You can turn it into a blessing!
1 Peter 4:14
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Reverse the curse into a blessing and a means of glorifying God. Fear God above man and perceive it as God does. Forgive them, for they do not know what they do. Take joy in the reproach, and you will receive a heavenly reward! It is a choice; you do have the power to choose this path of blessing.
22Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake.
23Rejoice in that
day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in
like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
3.) The Reproach of Unrighteousness
This is disapproval and shame we bring against ourselves because of our own unrighteousness, both individually and corporately as the Body of Christ.
When we lack spiritual integrity and indulge our sin nature, we bring a reproach on the name of Christ and upon His people. We are reproached in our unrighteousness.
Proverbs 14:34 ~ Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Repentance removes your reproach. However, Satan works hard at keeping you in reproach – even after you have repented – through condemnation, discouragement, and disappointment (self-hatred). He tries to convince you that you deserve to take on the reproach because you failed God.
The Father replies, “Remember the POWER of the BLOOD of My Son. It is HIS righteousness, not your own, which removes your reproach.”
Right here you have a choice: to receive His Word and roll away the reproach or receive Satan's lies and maintain condemnation. The latter always produces a failure complex. You will find yourself missing the mark and failing at every turn. It is a downward spiral that only leads to incredible bondage.
Be like the Israelites who rolled away the reproach of Egypt by renewing covenant with the Lord through circumcision (Joshua 5:2-9). Allow His Spirit to circumcise your flesh and receive by faith the covenant blessing of forgiveness. You must forgive yourself to be forgiven. Command the antichrist spirit to go, and roll away the reproach!
briefly mention here that there is a seventh type of reproach I did not include
in-depth in this study. It is the reproach the enemies of the Lord receive, as
seen in Psalm 78:66. It says that the adversaries of the Lord bear His
perpetual reproach. Now, we are free from this disgrace as long as we do not
maintain a position of rebellion against Him. Note that refusing to receive His
Word of forgiveness is rebellion and will ultimately lead to becoming His
adversary. Obey His Word. Repent. Forgive. Be done with reproach.
4.) The Reproach of the Shipwrecked in Faith
This reproach has to do with carrying the blame for those who have become shipwrecked in their faith. We tend to take it on as a “Christian failure,” believing we have failed God and our Christian duty.
1 Timothy 1:19
...having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck...
2 Timothy 4:10 (Paul)
10for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica--Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.
Again, the devil's list of “our failures” contains a list of people whom we brought into the Kingdom of God but could not keep there. We torment ourselves with, “I should have done more...”
Whether we were perfect in our witness or not, our hearts were pure in that we wanted them to see Jesus. It boils down to a person's free-will choice. People abandon the Lord because they choose to.
I do not believe Paul took personal responsibility for the people mentioned above. Consider Jesus: He did not carry the reproach of Judas' betrayal. (Don't you know we would have?)
Are you carrying the reproach of
those who have forsaken the Lord? It does not belong to you. Roll it away!
5.) The Reproach of the Religious
A big source of disapproval, criticism, and disdain against God’s people lies in those who claim a degree of “Christianity,” but are not truly “owned” by the Lord. They have a form of godliness, but deny the power of God. They are religious, but have no relationship with Him.
When they are not in covenant with God, they are not in covenant with us... and that often produces friction. Those seeking to be led by the Spirit of God are actually cursed with reproach by the religious and their false doctrines, religious traditions, pride, jealousy, and alignment with the world.
To accept their reproach opens a door to the curse of unfruitfulness. We accept their reproach by doubting our decisions, by wondering if we really heard from God, by agreeing with their accusations and thinking, “they must be right.”
Jesus did not yield one iota to the Pharisees and their curses. He did not take on their reproach, but remained confident in His Father. He continued to do what the Father showed Him to do and say what the Father told Him to say without fear of consequences. Our boldness to do the same will bring great joy to the Father's heart.
Roll away the reproach of the
religious and allow the Spirit to lead you wherever He might. Free yourself to
follow Him wholeheartedly!
6.) The Reproach Against Extravagant Adoration
This final reproach can come from religious and non-religious alike. It is the disapproval of those who break out of typical boundaries to give extravagantly to the Lord.
Extravagant – given to lavish or unwise expenditure; exceeding reasonable bounds; unreasonably high; extremely abundant (Etymology = “to wander outside”)
The woman with the alabaster flask gives us a perfect Biblical example for these last two types of reproach.
3And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
38and [she] stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
4But there were some [Pharisees and Jesus’ disciples] who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.
What have you given to the Lord that was an extravagant expression of your adoration of Him? Was it an extravagant gift or an extravagant act of obedience? Did you receive reproach… and allow that curse to bring death to you?
I believe that when you anoint the Lord with your extravagant
adoration and devotion it opens the door to receive His resurrection power. This
is the power that brings complete healing
and liberation from the curse of reproach.\
Roll Away Reproach
Mary did not immediately take on the reproach, but looked unto Jesus for His judgment on the matter. It was His words that rolled away her reproach and brought healing to her heart.
He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
6But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
This is the key: we have done what we could... we have done the best that we could possibly do at that moment. In spite of our shortcomings, mistakes, and “failures,” the Lord sees our heart motive and rolls away the reproach – even the reproach we “deserve.”
47 Therefore I say to you, her
sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is
forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
This woman's faith in Jesus and His
words saved her from reproach. We must believe likewise.
How to Be Free
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you have taken on reproach or where you have reproached another.
Roll away reproach by confessing the reproach to the Lord. Repent and turn from it, refusing to be its victim or perpetrator.
Seek the face of Jesus and hear His Word to you concerning the issue of reproach at hand.
Receive God's Word of Truth into your very soul. Believe it. His Word produces healing.
You must see yourself and others in the light of God's Word and refuse to accept anything contrary to it. (Don't argue with God!)
Choose to forgive and bless, for you need that same forgiveness from others for whom you have reproached.
Break the curse of reproach and unfruitfulness off of you. Bind and cast out the spirits of deception, antichrist, bondage, and death. Shut the door to reproach; forbid it to reign over you.
When you truly release all reproach – that received and that given – it is life-changing and produces the incredible liberation you desire. Grant those who have hurt you their spiritual “Jubilee,” and receive your own. Release ALL debts. Be free!
26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.
28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.
29 I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame [reproach] of the Gentiles anymore.