Have you ever been shamed…perhaps by a parent, a teacher, a boss, or your spouse? There is nothing that cuts to the core of one’s being than being shamed. There is nothing redemptive in it…nothing. Author Gary Chapman says, “How we respond to these voices from our past will determine our future…We were not created to live under cloaks of shame.”
In a recent blog post by Christina Patterson she states, “Where guilt has to do with feeling bad about what we do, shame is feeling bad about who we are…We can experience both guilt and shame at the same time, and many times we do. Shame, however, is more relational. It has to do with feeling like a failure in the eyes of others and how we perceive ourselves.”
When we are shamed, the assault takes its toll. The effects can last a lifetime unless the shame is dealt with. It becomes our dirty little secret. It’s avoided, we hide it, no one is allowed to know about it and the authentic self is lost, buried under all of the pain.
From a Biblical perspective when sin was born so was shame. In chapter 3 of Genesis, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. Later we see in verse 7, “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.”
Please notice their reaction. They immediately tried to cover it, not deal with it or confess it. Instead, they hid it and wanted no one to see it. That is exactly what we do today. A few verses later God is looking for Adam and he told God, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
This is crazy. Alan D. Wright writes in his book “Free Yourself, Be Yourself”, God never uses shame to motivate us toward right living or excellence. He never motivates us by withholding His love from us. “God does not motivate by withholding love, but by giving love.”
So here is the good news, we can be free of shame if we have the guts to confront it and receive the healing offered. Truly, God’s grace and love is amazing! Often the hard part is forgiving ourselves.
Be encouraged, work through the process. Go for it!
YOU ARE WORTH IT!