Today I wish to direct your attention to an article by Fr. Stephen Freeman. Freeman is one of the largest and most influential Eastern Orthodox bloggers, and he blogs at Glory to God for All Things. This post is entitled “Unavoidable Suffering and Salvation – The Way of Shame“.
Human suffering comes from a variety of causes, but perhaps the most difficult to bear is that which comes as a result of shame. In this case you have suffering that comes to you as a result of who you are. This can result in anger or depression, but both of these are escapes which result in inauthentic suffering. The only way out is to learn to bear the shame.
The predominant characteristic of shame is vulnerability. This is not a pleasant feeling; it is one which most people try to avoid if at all possible. But if you learn to live with the vulnerability, then the image of Christ is being formed in you and you are in a position to receive comfort from Christ.
Christ came not to alleviate suffering, but to provide signs of the coming kingdom of God, when all suffering will one day be ended. He made it abundantly clear that His way was the way of suffering; that in order to follow Him you have to take up your cross.