Monday, Mar 21, 2016

Are You Ashamed?

Dealing with the Effects of Shame

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines

the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

The young woman cowered in the corner of the couch, clutching a frayed tissue. She’d just revealed a childhood situation of sexual abuse that had triggered an outburst of sobs that wracked her trembling body. Clearly, the pain of her past still lingered and was more entrenched than she had imagined.

Shame. It is the heavy and hidden burden that many carry. 

The word "SHAME" written in vintage metal letterpress type in a wooden drawer with dividers.

Shame is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.”  Shame usually comes as a sense of guilt for having done something wrong. But often the wrong was done by someone else, and the person bearing the shame is the victim of the wrong.

Shame gives signals. Among them are the following:

—Perfectionism. The person carrying shame thinks that by being perfect, she will validate her worth.

Inferiority. The person carrying shame thinks he is unworthy and inferior to others.

Hunger for Approval. The person carrying shame craves the approval of others to give him worth.

False Guilt. The person carrying shame often blames herself for what was done to her.

Shame differs from guilt in that shame relates to the self whereas guilt relates to others. For example, we feel guilt when we have been unkind to someone, but we feel shame when we worry about how we appear to others for having been unkind. Guilt says, “What I did was bad.” Shame says, “I am bad for having done that.” Guilt can separate the action from the doer of the action. Shame cannot.

Shame is often accompanied by feelings of unworthiness or inferiority. Shame is one of Satan’s chief tools for keeping us from a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, how do we get rid of shame? We go to Christ our Healer. Listen to what He promises you regarding your shame: “Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor” (Isaiah 61: 7).  What glorious news! In exchange for shame, our gracious Lord will give us a double share of honor!

Are you carrying around shame in your soul? If so, go to Jesus and give it to Him. He wants to remove your shame once and for all and give you honor in its place. Listen to another one of His promises to you: “He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61: 3).

It doesn’t get any better than that! 

“Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor” (Isaiah 61: 7). CLICK TO TWEET


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3 thoughts on “Are You Ashamed?

  1. I fit under more than one of the definitions above; thank you, MaryAnn. I am a perfectionist as well as two other from the list.

    • Dear Skye, we all struggle with different issues in life. Scripture reminds us that our brothers and sisters are also going through similar trials. So be encouraged, my friend. Holy Spirit is transforming you into a beautiful vessel fit for His table. 🙂