WINNING WITH THE WORD
by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.
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Shame is to the heart as chains are to the body. It imprisons us and causes us great emotional pain.
Shame keeps us bound to the past and prevents us from moving forward into the future with joy and expectation.
What exactly is shame? In his wonderful 1828 dictionary, Noah Webster defines shame as “a painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal. Shame is particularly excited by the disclosure of actions which, in the view of men, are mean and degrading.”
Most, if not all, of us have experienced shame in one way or another.
I come from a poor family of eight children. Were it not for the generosity of the nuns at the Catholic school I attended, we would have often gone to bed hungry. Frequently, the nuns would graciously give me a big bag of their leftover egg salad sandwiches to take home to my family. As I rode the school bus with that large shopping bag filled with the nuns’ pungent sandwiches on my lap, I felt shame. Shame because the other kids on the bus not only knew what I was carrying, but also why. Shame because I believed the lie that poor people were inferior.
Shame is the lie that says you’re not good enough. While guilt says I MADE a mistake, shame says I AM a mistake.
Where does shame come from? Shame has two sources:
1-Shame can come from our own sin.
2-Shame can come from the sins of others against us.
Let’s look at each source.
First, shame can come from our own sin. When we disobey God’s Word and do something He has commanded us not to do, we feel shame because we know we have done wrong. We also feel shame because we have been found out by God–Who knows everything anyway–and shame because we may have exposed ourselves to the displeasure or scrutiny of others and, as a result, have gone down a notch in their estimation of us.
Shame from our own sin makes us want to hide. And so we do. We hide in our jobs, in our hobbies, in social media, in our relationships, in our busy lives. Anything to avoid facing the pain of our shame.
Second, shame can come from the sins of others against us. For example, our parents may have spoken negative words to us as children—words that wounded our hearts. Have you ever heard these words as a child?
__”You’ll never amount to anything.”
__”You’re so clumsy!”
__”Our family is poor.”
__”No one will ever love you.”
__”I wish I never had you!”
__”You were an accident.”
__Why can’t you be like your brother? Your sister?
__’You’re (You fill in the blank).”
Words such as these linger with us all of our lives, imprisoning us in shame, unless we deal with them.
Shame is a painful emotion that comes from our belief that we have fallen short of the expected mark. When we sin, we have, indeed, fallen short of God’s expected mark. Romans 3: 23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Whether our shame came from our own sin or from the sins of others, we don’t have to continue to live with it. God has provided a way out of our shame. His Name is Jesus Christ.
When we repent of our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, He cleanses us from all shame, regardless of where it originated.
Has your life been filled with shame? If so, read this promise from the Lord to you: “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance” (Isaiah 61: 7).
Would you like to shed your shame and receive a double portion of honor instead? Then accept Jesus Christ, the only One Who can release you from your shame. Pray this simple prayer with me now:
“Lord Jesus, my life has been filled with shame. I don’t want to live with this pain of shame any longer. I receive You now as my Savior and Lord, as the only One Who can free me from shame. I give my shame to You and in exchange I receive a double portion of honor. Thank You, Lord, for freeing me of shame and for saving me. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, you are now a born-again child of God. Please write to me at email@example.com. I would like to send you a free booklet that will help you get started in your relationship with Christ.
In closing, my prayer for you today is this: “May God take the former shame of your life and turn it into the strength of your life.”
Before you leave, please check out my resources for overcoming shame: my non-fiction book titled You Were Made for Greatness! and my fiction series titled The Italian Chronicles whose heroine deals with shame. You will find links to both below.
Listen to the podcast here:
Follow the page-turning saga of Maria Landro as she struggles with shame.
The Italian Chronicles by MaryAnn Diorio
God made you for greatness! Learn how to become great in Christ.