Merriam-Webster defines shame as a “painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming or impropriety or the condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute.” Although the dictionary may define the word, it does not describe the impact of shame on a life.
The word shame first appears in Scripture in Genesis 2:25: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” This freedom from shame was soon lost as a result of sin. In Genesis 3:10, Adam tells God that he was afraid because he was naked so he hid. Guilt, from conviction of the sin of his disobedience, would be necessary to come to God in confession for forgiveness. Shame made him want to hide.
In his book, Shame Off You, Rev. Alan Wright describes the difference he sees between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and shame:
“I have come to cherish the conviction of the Holy Spirit every bit as much as I disdain the shame of the enemy. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we do not change and grow. It is essential that we recognize and welcome His convicting work. Surprisingly, I find that many Christians are confused about the difference between the corrosive shame that binds us and the healing conviction that frees us. It’s as fundamental as recognizing the difference between the voice of Satan and the voice of God…” (Shame Off You, p82)
Each of us wants to feel love and acceptance. Satan’s corrosive shame leads us to believe that we are not acceptable, that something is wrong with us, that we need to find and correct it or pretend to be somebody else in order to be acceptable. While acknowledging that we each have our unique struggles, Dr. Larry Crabb goes on to say that “beneath all that’s different, we’re all pretty much alike. As the pithy and influential Christian apologist of the early twentieth century G.K. Chesterton puts it, we’re all in the same boat, and we’re all seasick together. We throw up different stuff because we’ve eaten different junk, but the stuff in us is bad junk.” [Real Church, p.72]
Don’t let the “bad junk” of shame prevent you from experiencing God’s love and acceptance or from the change and growth that the Holy Spirit desires to encourage in each of us.
If you feel burdened by shame and want your life to be different,
please call 337-896-0065, ext. 203, today.
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