God is in the business of restoration. It is through the work of His spirit within us that we are brought back to wholeness. Nothing that has occurred in our past is allowed to have sovereign reign in our life when we summon the God of the universe for assistance. Those parts of our lives that have been broken, emptied, or invalidated are precious to God. The word of God, in Psalm 56:8-9, tells us how God is intimately involved with our pain. How amazing to realize that God has His own inventory of each one of our burdens. He has authored a list that records our tears, not our wrongdoing! It is with that understanding of God’s mercy and compassion that we are able to deal with the issues in our life. God’s love enables us to step out in faith and seek healing. We are promised that nothing can separate us from God’s love nor take it away — nothing in our past, present, or future, including all the experiences woven throughout our lives.
We Must Face The Shame In Our Lives
As we continue down the pathway toward wholeness, we must be willing to face the very things that caused us so much pain. We must also face our own wrongful behaviors. This journey will lead us to a place where we can abide and rest in Jesus’ unconditional love, despite anything that occurs externally around us. But to get there, we must be willing to remove the turbulence that created so much conflict in our lives. We must be willing to face the shame.
Shame is the most lethal and toxic weapon against our soul, because it prevents us from fully knowing and experiencing the love, grace, and mercy of God. It accompanies a feeling of being dirty, unacceptable, and unworthy. Shame disrupts a sense of normalcy and wreaks havoc on our ability to be healthy and whole. Satan will work hard to accuse, torment, and lead us to believe we don’t measure up to God’s standard, creating within us feelings of worthlessness, rejection, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. When Satan captures our minds through these shame messages, he in essence has control over our lives.
God’s Word Shines Light Into The Dark Places In Our Soul
The word of God deals very specifically with shame. In fact, Jesus didn’t just come to remove our sin; He also wants to remove our shame, the harmful effect of sin. In order to find true, meaningful wholeness, it is critical that we understand that in order to heal, we must bring to the light the very things we’ve tried to hide. Bringing God’s revealing light into the dark recesses of our life can initially be quite uncomfortable. However, by exposing these deeper issues, the Holy Spirit seeks to cover us with God’s grace in the places where we most fear rejection and exposure. It’s in this condition that shame loses its power over us, as we are covered in the reality of God’s forgiveness, unconditional love, and acceptance.
We often think shame is directly correlated with things we have done. Shame is more often a by-product of the way others have imposed standards on us, and the very acts of abuse or neglect committed against us. When someone violated us, neglected us, left us, said painful words to us, or shamed us, they sent a message directly into our mind and heart. The act itself was bad, but the message it sent had the potential to effect us for the rest of our life.
Shameful messages also say things such as, “You’re bad, you’re stupid, you’re fat, you’re ugly.” These messages can plant seeds that, if allowed to take root in our lives, can begin to control our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
We Choose Whether Or Not To Internalize Shame Messages
So are our families or parents at fault? Not exactly. We make a choice to receive the messages as truth. The problem is that, as children, we often automatically believe what our caregivers and family members say. Eventually, we might reject these messages, but in our early years, we very possibly might believe whatever we’re told, and not realize we have an option. And sadly, when we carry shame, we unknowingly superimpose it onto others. Shame is often passed from one generation to the next.
“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God… I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” Deuteronomy 5:9-10 (NLT)
In upcoming writings I plan to begin unpacking God’s provision for us to identify and eliminate shame in our lives, and to break the generational patterns of passing shame down through our children. I encourage you to be in prayer that the Lord might expose any toxic, shame-based messages you’ve come to believe to be true. And begin to invite Jesus into your pain.
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