The Big Topic of Shame
Disclaimer about Shame – if you have Shame because someone victimized you – that is not your fault, never has been your fault. It is awful to carry around wounds from the actions of others – awful. If you carry shame, it is like allowing your abusers to have the continued power over you, the way from being a victim to a survivor is to lose your shame. Speak your truth – and kick those events/people out of your head. They should have no power over you – the shame is on them and their actions, NOT on you.
Shame!!! What a big topic! It is one of those emotions we often talk about – but no one seems to talk about how to understand it. Where does Shame come from? Where did it start? WHY does it hang on so long – so long – so long. I can remember every stupid thing I have done – and I am OLD so that is a lot of stupid things! Shame leads me to depression and sadness. Sometimes my shame can cause me to doubt my own healing, repentance, value. I have grown so MUCH as a person since I asked God to lead my life, the HOLY spirit to guide me and JESUS to be my savior – and YET I keep replaying all my shame filled Moments like a bad movie. And in the vision, I would go there – my spirit would go there – relive it, feel it, heal from it again, find freedom and joy again, and then ANOTHER moment would come up etc. My shame would cause me to not feel peace in God’s presence, but to run from it at times. I cut myself very little “slack” – PERFECTION is my expectation! And when I didn’t get it right, I beat myself up worse than anyone else could.
OR PEOPLE would bring up my shame moments. When I was going through my divorce – I felt some people wrote me off – like spiritually she can’t have anything to add to our conversations RIGHT? SOME Not even in intentionally hurtful ways – but say things such as “wow God has really changed you!” i.e., reminder to how you USED to be. Some people MET Me at my worst moments – and I was like “I wasn’t always that way” or felt the need to justify myself. When I was stuck in some pretty dark places in my life – some people purposely said things like “well if you were right with God, you wouldn’t be going through this” or “you just need to pray more, seek God”, “You just need to get in your word” This also separated me from my Christian believers. I know I didn’t do the “right” thing or wasn’t doing the” right things” but singing with the sinners felt pretty comfy when the righteous were trying to “sharpen” me – NOW sharpening each other is a good thing to do I don’t want to say it isn’t but it needs to be done in love and kindness. The relationship needs to be “right” for those conversations -a closeness, an understanding. If the relationship isn’t’ there it feels like shame-filled judgement. So sometimes shame separates us from the body of believers – and we NEED that body of believers when we are in those dark moments – or the darkness gets darker. The WORLD has all kinds of ways to help me feel better – and MOST just create more shame for me.
Through Jesus Christ and his wonderful intervention in our life – our shame filled MOMENTS often become our best victories! OUR greatest testimonies BUT we are too ashamed to share them. We are all “whew got out of that one without anyone knowing”. God knew – and knows – but I Trust his compassion, I don’t’ always trust the compassion of the people of the church. I trust God’s ability to move my sin as FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST! But I don’t trust the people in the church to do the same thing. Gossip happens, judgement happens, shame is given, “I will shame you to feel better about me” happens. Humanity happens. And I get trapped there – in the shame filled circumstances of humanity. I don’t trust God to work that out in those people or that I can speak my truth and withstand the storm of humanity judgment. So, SHAME and fear keeps me from telling my story of darkness and how Jesus met me and through the Holy Spirits guidance helped me Crawl out of and away from that darkness – so GOD can’t use my story to build up others because of my shame! ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!
I do not believe shame is a God emotion. Let me tell you why – I can find instances in the Bible where God expressed anger, sadness, happiness but not shame. I can find times when Jesus expressed anger, sadness, happiness, reverence and even some apprehension in the garden of Gethsemane – but never shame. Conviction is a loving action of the Holy Spirit – it is the Holy Spirit saying “ummm…. Not a good idea, not a great choice, oh don’t do that, o.k. dumb dumb lets talk to God and others if I have offended anyone, lets get this together now, repent, come to God, find love move forward.” Conviction is uncomfortable. BUT GOD DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR COMFORT!!!!!! NO ONE IN THE BIBLE WAS COMFORTABLE!!!! He cares about your sanctification and growing his church! If you are praying for change – and you become uncomfortable it means GOD has shown up! BE HAPPYP IN THAT!
As I have been speaking to youth groups about sin, I have come to tell them the consequence that you will deal with because of sin is shame. I have been saying that for a year or so – that is residual stink of sin – is shame, and even though through the act of repentance we have a way back to God – that shame lurks around us, waiting for the moment to take away our joy, the feeling of being loved by God, the connection we feel with God and each other. You have a relationship with yourself, a way you talk to yourself, think about yourself and for most of us that dialogue is VERY shame based and unkind – we are way nicer to other people than we are to ourselves.
My constant prayer to God is for revelation – a FRESH understanding to share with his people. An understanding of the struggles we all to seem to face. People aren’t all that different – I spend a lot of time in my office stating the same things to different people. If my residue of my sin is my shame – HOW DO I EVER GET PAST IT????? First I gotta know where it comes from?????
Then ONE day – the HOLY SPIRIT just smacked me with this: the first mention of the word and topic of shame:
Genesis Chapter 2: 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam[a] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[b] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[c] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Genesis Chapter 3 Now the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (he created doubt in the woman’s mind of God’s directions and sovereignty) He does that now – I can do that right? I mean who is it gonna hurt right? SECRET sin – I have shame from SECRET sin that no one else even knows about!!!
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Satan contradicts God here and the woman becomes curious, we all become a little bit curious about the forbidden don’t we AND This often leads to SIN doesn’t it?)
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. —— BEFORE THEY FELT NO SHAME BUT AFTER SIN ENTERED THE WORLD SHAME ENTERED THE WORLD> However, the pollution of human nature resulting from the fall created all sorts of opportunities, physical and otherwise, for misunderstanding and exploitation to occur. Knowing their new potential to inflict harm and feeling deep existential shame, Adam and Eve attempt to hide from each other so that they will not be further damaged by their own depravity.
They also conceal themselves from the Lord. Instead of casting themselves on the mercy of the Creator, they try to flee from the only One who can overcome their shame
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” — (FIRST TIME WE SEE FEAR! AGAIN NOT GOD GIVEN EMOTIONS! We were complete before sin entered – now we are corrupted!)
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Adam blames EVE and even GOD)
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
In the previous verse, God called out to the hiding Adam: “Where are you?” God asked this question in the same way parents ask their disobedient child to explain an incident. He already knows the truth, but the question gives the child an opportunity to confess and do the right thing.
In this verse, Adam answers. It’s easy to picture him wide-eyed, desperate in the awareness of what he has done. He is full of shame at his newly-perceived nakedness, and fearful of how God will respond. It’s crucial to remember that this moment is unprecedented. Human sin had never happened before. No process existed for confession, judgment, or restoration. Adam, in this moment, honestly has no idea what to expect. He has no knowledge of how God will react, and knows only a desperate need to hide his unholy sin from a holy God.
Adam’s response is not the whole story, of course. He does not immediately confess to eating from the restricted tree. He admits his fear, likely an entirely new emotion. He focuses on his nakedness, not wanting to be seen by God.
Genesis 3: 21 For Adam and his wife, the Lord God made long coats (or tunics) of skins and clothed them.
SHAME is a tool contrived by SATAN to encourage us to HIDE from God TO STAY AWAY< NOT REPENT< NOT COME BACK IN TO FULL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. If he can keep us away from God he can capture us right? He wins.
I am a parent – I want my children to feel conviction – but NOT shame! Especially after repentance!
Sin caused Shame and separation from God – but through repentance God receives us back to him and covers our shame, erases our sin
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
He removes my sin and gives me a path back to him! Don’t let shame block it! Repeat to yourself _ I am not the same person I was then and I wouldn’t do the same thing I did then!
How does SHAME Separate us from each other!!!!! How do we take shame and hide our struggles from others? We take the thoughts we have for others – those create feelings and those feelings and thoughts create behaviors. HOW DO WE THINK OF OTHERS _- do we shame others? Do we look at their journeys and shame them from full participation in our church family? Do we know of their current darkness and either Judge harshly causing disconnection OR DO WE NOT GET INVOLVED!???? “I will pray for you”
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man – no shame in his story.
ACTS 2 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So, he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
CONTRAST THIS WITH THE WOMEN WITH THE ISSUE OF BLOOD
Mark 5;25-34 – also appears in Matthew and Luke’s gospel. I love how God made this woman so famous! AS was written in Leviticus any woman with an issue of blood was unclean. this was a ‘shame” issues – shame she put on herself and shame put on her by her community.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
NO ONE HELPED HER TO GET TO JESUS!!! Shame separated them all – the label of “unclean” put on her by the people of her time, her community separated her from them. Because she accepted this “unclean” status she lived on the fringes of society, alone, shunned – with NO ONE to help her get to Jesus where she knew her healing was! She crept cautiously through the crowd and was afraid to be seen at Jesus feet! Do we do that to people? Do you do that to yourself???? AM I afraid to go in front of my church – the altar and be with Jesus because I fear what people will think of my struggle? Am I afraid to tell people of my struggle for fear of judgement? BUT THEN THERE CAN BE NO PARTY PEOPLE!!!! We can’t celebrate together! IF WE DON” T TALK ABOUT THE STRUGGLE, HOW CAN WE FULLY TALK ABOUT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR US?????
HOW DOES SHAME AND FEAR OF SHAME get in the way of GOD building his church????? Let’s take a look at Saul! Who was Saul? Saul was the leader of the Jewish army persecuting early Christians – KILLING them for his Jewish faith. He was a Pharisee: a member of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity. THEY were the best and Christianity was a threat that must be squashed and he led the charge.
Saul Encounters Jesus
ACTS 9 During those days, Saul, full of angry threats and rage, [a] wanted to murder the disciples of the Lord Jesus. So he went to ask the high priest 2 and requested a letter of authorization he could take to the Jewish leaders in Damascus,[b] requesting their cooperation in finding and arresting any who were followers of the Way.[c] Saul wanted to capture all of the believers he found, both men and women, and drag them as prisoners back to Jerusalem. 3 So he obtained the authorization and left for Damascus.
Just outside the city, a brilliant light flashing from heaven suddenly exploded all around him. 4 Falling to the ground, he heard a booming voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” [d]
5–7 The men accompanying Saul were stunned and speechless, for they heard a heavenly voice but could see no one.
Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?”
8 Saul stood to his feet, and even though his eyes were open he could see nothing—he was blind. So, the men had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. 9 For three days he didn’t eat or drink and couldn’t see a thing.
10 Living in Damascus was a believer named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling his name. “Ananias.”
“Yes, Lord,” Ananias answered.
The Lord said, “Go at once to the street called Abundance[g] and look for a man from Tarsus[h] named Saul. You will find him at Judah’s house.[I] While he was praying,[j] he saw in a supernatural vision a man named Ananias[k] coming to lay hands upon him to restore his sight.”[l]
13 “But Lord,” Ananias replied, “many have told me about his terrible persecution of those in Jerusalem who are devoted to you.[m] 14 In fact, the high priest has authorized him to seize and imprison all those in Damascus who call on your name.”
15 The Lord Yahweh[n] answered him, “Arise and go! I have chosen this man to be my special messenger.[o] He will be brought before kings, before many nations, and before the Jewish people to give them the revelation of who I am. 16 And I will show him how much he is destined to suffer[p] because of his passion for me.”
17 Ananias left and found the house where Saul was staying. He went inside and laid hands on him, saying, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me to pray for you so that you might see again and be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.”
20 Within the hour[s] he was in the synagogues, preaching about Jesus and proclaiming, “Jesus is the Son of God!”[t] 21 Those who heard him were astonished, saying among themselves, “Isn’t this the Saul who furiously persecuted those in Jerusalem who called on the name of Jesus? Didn’t he come here with permission from the high priest to drag them off and take them as prisoners?”
22 Saul’s power increased greatly as he became more and more proficient in proving that Jesus was the anointed Messiah. Saul remained there for several days with the disciples, even though it agitated the Jews of Damascus.
Saul Escapes from Damascus
23 As time passed, the Jews plotted together to kill Saul, 24 but it was revealed to him what they were about to do. They closely guarded the gates of the city and tracked his every movement so they could kill him. 25 But during the night, some of Saul’s converts helped him escape by lowering him down through an opening in the wall, hiding him in a woven basket. [u]
Saul Returns to Jerusalem
26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to introduce himself to the fellowship of the believers, but everyone was afraid of him because they doubted, he was a true disciple. 27 Barnabas[v] came to his defense and brought him before the apostles. Saul shared with them his supernatural experience of seeing the Lord, who spoke with him on the road to Damascus. Barnabas also told them how boldly Saul preached throughout the city in Jesus’ mighty name.
28 Then they accepted him as a brother and he remained with them, joining them wherever they went in Jerusalem, boldly preaching in the power and authority of Jesus.[w] 29 He openly debated with some of the Jews who had adopted the Greek culture,[x] yet they were secretly plotting to murder him. 30 When the believers discovered their scheme, they smuggled him out of the city and took him to Caesarea and then sent him on to Tarsus.[y]
31 After this, the church all over Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced a season of peace.[z] The congregations grew larger and larger, with the believers being empowered and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. They worshiped God in wonder and awe, [aa] and walked in the fear of the Lord.
WHAT IF PAUL WOULD HAVE HIDDEN AWAY IN SHAME????? He is credited for writing 2/3 or the new testament AND is often considered the most important person to the early Christian church after JESUS in the history of all Christianity. When was your Damascus Road? Where was your dry, dusty, may be filled with rage place where Jesus met you? What did you he in your life? Are you ready to REFUSE to walk in Shame any longer of what work Jesus has done in YOU? In YOUR life? Are you ready to talk about the dark place so GOD can you USE you for THE GOOD OF HIS KINGDOM! The church needs to stop Looking and talking like a bunch of perfect pious people who never struggle. GOD needs a church of people ready to be raw and real with each other and with the world so we can proclaim his power to restore, his power to change, his power to heal. WE NEED TO STOP WALKING IN SHAME! MOVE FROM SHAME TO SURVIVOR! REDEEMED! Recovered! Reconciled to God and to MYSELF! WHOLE NOT BROKEN!