Shame Part 2

Question: What is something that we all have and yet don’t want to talk about, and the less we talk about it the more of it we have? Answer: Shame.

Talk empathically to someone who deals with shame and notice what happens when you speak truthful and kind words such as, “You are brave, you are kind, you are loving, you are caring, you are strong and courageous.” You will notice one of two responses:

  1. You might see tears forming because the truth is trying to defeat the lies they have believed for years.
  2. Or, they might simply shrug off the compliments believing you are just being kind.

Either response indicates that they are wrestling with shame. It is like a dragon inside of them that is trying to stretch its wings and remain firm. But when you expose this dragon with truth, a battle inside the person will ensue as to which voice to believe.

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They want so desperately to believe the truth, but it is so hard to do. The dragon of shame has a strong grip and it will rip, claw, yell, and cry to stay home. Shame imposes its will on you and forces you to simply accept the “real truth” that you are still worthless regardless of someone’s compliment.

Why are people so prone to develop this belief of shame?

The answer goes all the way back to Adam and Eve who believed shaming thoughts after doing what was forbidden. The natural gravitational pull after making a mistake, committing a sin, or going against a standard is not only to be guilty of the act, but also to believe a shameful thought about our character.

Sin Guilt Shame Bondage
Leads us to guilt I made a mistake Unforgiven guilt leads to shame Shame thinking: “I must be a mistake and unlovable Leads us to bondage Hide, keep secrets, perfectionism, and avoid intimacy

Because of his love, God gave Adam, Eve and the rest of human creation the ability to choose. And even in his gift to us he recognizes that we will be prone to choosing things that are not healthy. I believe God’s approach to us is this: “Of all the choices I have given you there are multiple trees with good and healthy fruit, however, there is one tree that may look good but has a toxin that will poison you. I don’t want you to eat from this tree because I love you too much to see you hurt and devastated.”

God's Original Design For Life

Rules for healthy living are in place because of his love for us. The choice God gives us to either sin or not, is proof of his love for us. When we choose to go directly against the rules, God provides forgiveness, therefore releasing us from our guilt and again proving his love for us. When we allow forgiveness to apply the truth that opposes the lies, we can believe: “We are not a mistake. We are loved, accepted and forgiven.” This truth gives us power to overcome shameful thoughts & behaviors. We can live with honesty, being enough, and can have intimate relationships with God and others.

Even with God as their parent, Adam and Eve chose to disobey and eat from the hurtful tree, but they immediately took the shame route as a response to their action.

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Adam & Eve Chooses Shame

Rules for healthy living Directly going against the rules: Sin. Guilt Shame Shame Living
Do not eat from this tree. They ate from the forbidden tree. Instead of accepting forgiveness, they believed lies about themselves. “We disappointed God so we are now a disappointment.” They hid, were ashamed and avoided intimacy.
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We all seem to be prone to go the same route even if we grew up with parents who did not shame us after our wrongdoings and imperfections.We begin developing thoughts that we are unlovable, undesirable, and unworthy. Early in life we began absorbing this false belief that we are somehow deficient and scarred.

As a result of believing that we have gone unseen, unloved, unvalued, and misunderstood, we developed the belief that there is something wrong with us. We are a misprint. There is an essential ingredient missing inside us.

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Now, some children were told outright that they were not okay, that they were stupid, bad and undeserving.

But the majority of us came to the same conclusion without the direct insults. Directly or indirectly all of us end in the same shameful place.

…to be continued.

I’ll conclude this thought of why we choose the place of shame next week.