I heard someone speak on the topic of ‘shame’ and I thought it was so profound and I decided to share:
Shame is everywhere, it is like an epidemic. Shame is universal – we all have shame, everyone of us. You either have shame or you do not have the ability to be empathetic, take your pick.
What is shame?
Is it the same as guilt?
Guilt says, “I just did something really bad.” Shame says, ” I am bad.”
Guilt says, “I should not have said that to her, I should apologize” but shame says “I am such a terrible person, look at what I did.” Guilt wants you to make restitution but shame wants you to hide. Guilt comes from what you did but shame attacks the very person you are.
Guilt goes away with appeasement, shame lingers. Even when God forgives us and we know He has, sometimes we still feel like we are no good – that is shame.
Adam and Eve ran around in the garden all day, naked. They knew they were naked yet felt no shame. But after the disobedience, they felt shame and lost their intimacy with God.
Shame makes us feel vulnerable and naked when everyone else is clothed. Shame comes from sin, but not only that, it also comes from association – e.g having a parent who is a drug addict. Abuse is another example. We think something is wrong with us for being associated with such people or having experienced what we did even though it really was not our fault.
Shame sometimes just comes from somewhere inside by virtue of being a human being. “My nose is too big”; “I am not tall enough”; “I am not attractive enough” ; “I am not talented enough”; “I don’t dress well enough…”
Shame is the fear of disconnection. We want people to know us but we feel they would reject us if we let them get to know the real us. We feel unworthy of the connection.
Do statements like these sound familiar?
“I don’t fit in.”
“I am not good enough.”
“I am not smart enough.”
This is not guilt speaking, this is shame.
Adam and Eve had complete intimacy and vulnerability with God and themselves because they knew no shame. Are there people in your life you can be completely vulnerable with? Aren’t those the most treasured people? This is because we all long for connection and true intimacy, with God and others – just like it was in the garden.
People have invented all sorts of strategies to try to prevent shame; one of them is performance- be a good employee and people won’t notice that you are a terrible parent. Perhaps if you dress like you have got it all together, people wouldn’t be able to guess that you are really falling apart. You figure that if you could be what everyone wants you to be and they reject you, then they are not really rejecting the real you. Also, we lie to mask our inadequacies, and we blame other people or other things. Just like Adam and Eve, we hide and we blame.
Some have resorted to going deeper into the sin that brought on the shame and guilt, claiming “it is okay, I am just different.” In other words, treat it like it’s OK. It’s like saying, “let’s get out of the hole by going deeper into the hole”. But that has done nothing to take away that shame, that inner feeling of worthlessness.
God clothed Adam and Eve because He cares about our shame, about our nakedness. We caused it all, but He still responds and understands it. He allowed Himself to become the shamed one for us. He took our shame so that He can cover our shame.
With shame, it’s all about you. “I am not good enough,” “I don’t fit,” “I…”
To get rid of shame, take the focus off of you and focus on God. For example, if you believe you are worthless, it’s likely because you have spent too much time thinking about yourself and comparing yourself with others. Rather, look to God in whose image you are fashioned – He loves you. He died so He can be with you for all eternity.
Is your hope in something other than God? It’s time to stop hiding, time to take off the mask. Look to Him. Find yourself in Him.
God asked Adam, “Who told you all these things? Who told you that you were naked…?” In other words, whose voice have you been listening to? The world? Friends? Neighbors? Enemies? Haters?
Hear God’s voice today and know how He sees you! And how He sees you is who you really are.
Message by : Brandon Hirth ( Cross roads Bible Church)