It’s a Shame

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Neale Davis | 0 comments

In his book,  “Shame Interrupted” Ed Welch asks the question, “What is shame?”

“Shame is a deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you.  You feel exposed and humiliated.

Or, to strengthen the language,

You are disgraced because you acted less than human, you were treated as if you were less than human, or you were associated with something less than human, and there were witnesses.”

It is powerful, too.  You can see it all around you and even experience it on a personal level.  Sometimes it’s experienced profoundly, and sometimes it’s merely like music playing in the background.  Never overbearing but always there, nonetheless.  When shame is overt it can be extraordinarily painful.  “You’re worthless!”  “You’ll never amount to anything.”  “I knew you’d let me down!”  Words a grown man is still experiencing as an adult even though they were spoken to him as a child.

Perhaps it at the hands of someone who you thought you could trust like a spouse.  But their utter disregard for your feelings or your past feels abusive and disregarding.

It’s also possible to feel shame in subtle ways.  “When are you going to get a real job like your brother?  This is a disappointment to us.  We thought better of you!”

Maybe it’s a secret you’ve keep shut up in the recesses of your mind because it hadn’t seemed like a big deal.  “I don’t need to bring this up because is was so long ago and I’ve forgotten about it.”

Whether it’s playing in the background or it’s in your face every morning, how do you recover from shame?  Can you move past it or is it something you need to resign yourself to struggle through the rest of your life?

First, realize there is hope.  It is possible to be freed up from the ugliness of shame, but it has to be confronted face to face.  Hope is on the horizon.

Next, identify the lies that accompany shame.  For one, shame can make a person feel worthless before others and before God.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Ephesians 1:3-15 identifies the reality of your worth as a follower of Christ.  It’s extraordinary.

Enlist a trusted friend, family member or counselor to bring your shame front and center.  Remember, it needs to be confronted and is best when confronted with a friend.

Understand that Christ experienced shame for you.  “For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’”  Shame says you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you.  Christ says you are acceptable because of what he did for you.

Welch says, “Listen for the love, hate the shame, and have no tolerance for the resignation.  That’s the plan.”  The truth of Scriptures is fraught with hope for the shamed.

935273: Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness & Rejection Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness & RejectionBy Edward T. Welch / New Growth Press

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