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Rescued from Shame

But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near.  
Isaiah 50:7-8a (ESV)

“Who do you think you are?”

“You never listen to a word I say.”

“You are a loser.”

“You’re useless; you’ll never amount to anything.”

“We are all disappointed in you.”

“You are a mistake.”

Have you ever heard these words? Have you ever said these words?

I have, with much regret. They are all words that shame.

Shame and blame are not the same.

To blame someone is to tell them the wrong they have done. To shame someone is to tell them there’s something wrong with who they are, that they are worthless, bad, inferior, or inadequate. Blame is focused on behavior and the event ends; shame is focused on a person’s worth and forms a more permanent imprint deep within. Shame feels like others can see the worthlessness inside, and so we hide from them, including those in the body of Christ. Shame feels like there is no hope for change. Wrongdoing can be acknowledged, confessed, and forgiven. Shame requires a renewed identity. 

Those of us, who were shamed as children and become followers of Jesus Christ, continue to struggle with false guilt, condemnation, and legalism as adults. But there is hope!

The freeing news is that Christ is willing and able to rescue us through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Healing is usually a journey of taking the lies we believe captive and replacing them with truth as we acknowledge our own powerlessness to “just do it.” Admitting to the Lord, aloud, “I can’t, but God, You can,” is the beginning.

As we seek out those we can trust and begin to share in the Light what we have hidden in the dark, shame loses its grip.

Lord, may we have the courage to be vulnerable with others and share our hurts instead of hiding them in darkness.

Karen Sims

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