How Does Shame Enter Our Life? – Part 3
Through acts of violation committed against us.
We experience shame when people sin against us. Through violations, abuse, molestation, or shameful words, shame is placed on us and cuts to the very core of our self-worth. Abuse occurs when someone enters an area of our lives without permission in a way that violates or hurts us. Some abuse can occur when people neglect to fulfill a responsibility in our relationship with them. Any time a violating act is committed against us, shame can be introduced into our lives.
No matter our attempts, we feel we can’t rid ourselves of this sense of dirtiness. It is a byproduct of the act itself. Despite our best efforts to forget about it or to cover it up with something that looked outwardly good, the shame continues to deliver toxic messages.
Are we destined to remain a victim of abuse forever? Thank God the answer is no! There is a cleansing remedy and a process to rid us of this shame. It is only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ as the cleansing power to eradicate both the shame imposed on us through our own behaviors and the shame imposed by others.
Types of Abuse
- Physical abuse. When someone hits, touches, or hurts our physical body, our nature and God-given boundaries have been violated. Sometimes victims of physical abuse have been told, “You deserve this.” A human being, let alone a child of God, never deserves physical abuse!
- Sexual abuse. Any time we are touched by a person inappropriately in a sexual way without our consent, it could be considered sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is unbelievably damaging because it enters our deepest, most sacred and most intimate place – a place so precious it was reserved only for the covenant of marriage. Violations in this area shatter the sense of preciousness, purity, and sanctity. More than any other form of abuse, it will deeply affect the individual’s ability to bond and trust in future relationships. Even when we willingly participate in sexual acts outside the context of marriage, we are participating in the sexual abuse of our own body. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18 NIV).
- Mental abuse. When someone attempts to enter our minds or manipulate what we think or believe in order to hurt us, we can experience mental abuse. In some relationships, the victim is actually made to feel as though they are the instigator, thus justifying the perpetrator’s actions.
- Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse feeds on our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It can use fear, shame, guilt, or rejection to gain power over us. The perpetrator will use words as emotional weapons in an attempt to change another person’s behavior. This is cruel, unloving, and unfair.
- Spiritual abuse. Parents and other authority figures can use the Bible (or words from the Bible) to frighten and scare others. Spiritual abuse uses the things of God to exercise human control over others. While God is powerful, He never attempts to force us to do anything. He never shames us but convicts us and desires to set us free.
- Abuse by neglect. We can be abused by not having physical or emotional needs met. When a parent withdraws necessities from a child (love, attention, or nurturing), or fails to meet other legitimate needs, actually abuse is occurring. Often this form of abuse is not intentional, but a projection of the parents’ unresolved shame. Nonetheless, it can be very abusive in nature.
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