I awoke this morning thinking about my ministry yesterday concerning shame. God always responds to our shame just as He did to the shame of Israel when the walls of their city were destroyed as recorded in Nehemiah. He responded to the shame of Israel when they were in bondage to Egypt and slaves as recorded in Exodus.
Many believers live in shame for these same reasons. Many live lives that are open prey to the enemy because their walls are down. Or, they live lives of bondage to many things. Many believers struggle with self worth and do not fully embrace their God given identity in Christ because they function from a shame based personality.
Psychologist tell us that shame is epidemic in the lives of all people. The only way to heal shame is to expose it in a safe environment and the best way is to allow Holy Spirit to bring healing to our shame.
In Exodus 3, God revealed His love for His people when He told Moses “I see their affliction, hear their cries and feel their oppression.” This is empathy…to put yourself in another’s shoes. By exposing our own areas of shame to God, He will bring deliverance and healing. He will reestablish our identity and once again we can have the joy of the Lord filling our hearts.
Dr. Brene Brown says we respond to shame by disconnecting from people in three ways:
1. We move away from them by isolating ourselves, hiding or avoiding all together. We keep “our secrets”.
2. We move toward them by people pleasing and perfection. We perform to please others
3. We move against them with aggression or abuse through words or actions. We may even use self contempt against ourselves.
We react in the same ways with God. We move away from Him because of our shame and guilt. We no longer want to be involved with God nor His people because of our humiliation. We believe we are unworthy of His love.
Or, we move toward Him by thinking we can work, work, work and He will love us more and approve of us if we perform for Him.
Or, thirdly, we get angry with God and blame Him for our issues. Where is God? Why did this happen? And we become bitter.
Shame is a self-assessment about who we are and means we feel unworthy and disqualified. Guilt is about something we have done and can result in deep seated shame if we do not deal with it in a healthy way.
Jesus came to bring forgiveness, healing and deliverance to our guilt and shame As great as counselors and friends are, Jesus is the only one who can bring lasting healing. He desires that we live a life abundant.
Many times our shame is our own past mistakes. Or. It may be those secrets we carry of mistreatment, abuse, molestation, etc. It may be that bad habit we keep trying to break and it seems we take one step forward and two steps back, always staying in the broken cycle of defeat and frustration.
Regardless, Jesus sees, hears and feels our pain and He desires deliverance for us. We need to surrender those broken areas and let His healing wash away the shame of the past. Only then will we realize our true identity and purpose as Sons of God!