Have you been embarrassed recently? It can be uncomfortable. Sometimes, in hindsight, the experience can amuse us. However, there are types of embarrassments and humiliations that don’t bring us amusement, but rather destructive feelings and attitudes. It’s the humiliation and guilt that produces lingering shame.
At Lighthouse, we often work with dear people carrying hindering shame from experiences where they have either been wronged or done wrong. We see how shame will weigh a person down and interfere with personal growth, hope and joy. How can we deal with the lingering enemy of shame?
1. Remove it.
“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5) I have some friends who are skilled in removing certain things. My mechanic removed my truck’s broken timing belt. My surgeon removed a pre-cancerous mole. But, far better, my Savior removed my shame!
God has the desire and capability to remove the wrong from me that brought the shame. He also replaces the wrong and the shame with His righteousness. Jesus Christ removes our shame if we look to Him to do it. Personal achievements, flattering relationships or consuming activities don’t remove our shame. They just cover it up.
2. Refuse it.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame.” (Hebrews 12:2) There are some people and somethings that are hard to shake away from and shame is one of them. The memories and the feeling from shame can be intimidating.
A friend and I ran into a couple of former acquaintances whom we had known during a painful and humiliating time in my life. After our brief conversation and their leaving I mentioned to my friend how awkward I’d felt while we were with them. My friend who is kind but also honest told me that I didn’t act or seem awkward at all. What I felt wasn’t in line with what was really happening. When shame attempts to intimidate or redirect us away from where we should be and who we should be, we are to do what Jesus did with the shame of the cross. Refuse its intimidation.
3. Replace it.
“He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame.” (Proverbs 13:18) People who carry shame often develop unhealthy activities or relationships in an attempt to distract or dull the painful feelings. If we replace these unhealthy choices with beneficial activities and relationships, we will stay free from shame’s influence. A free person is not one who copes, but rather one who is cured. “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame.” (Proverbs 13:18) People who carry shame often develop unhealthy activities or relationships in an attempt to distract or dull the painful feelings. If we replace these unhealthy choices with beneficial activities and relationships, we will stay free from shame’s influence. A free person is not one who copes, but rather one who is cured.
A person who lacks self control is in a weak place. Shame can regain a foothold because we’re using human not godly measures to be whole and healthy. The fruit or by-product of God’s Spirit in my life is self control. When I rely on God’s Spirit to bring order into my life and I become a student and follow His word, I am able to replace shame with godly discipline that gives real life and freedom. (John 8:31-36)
May you and those you love be free from shame and full of joy and hope (Romans 15:13). Thank you for your friendship and support. Together we are able to help many find God and His plan for their lives.
Praise and Prayer Items:
* Please pray for the families who need perseverance.