Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shame, Shame, Shame!

Shame shuts us off from life and shuts us down from others. “I am so evil, wrong, ugly, and unworthy of love and life … I am sorry for existing.” Welcome to the cast of The Walking Dead.

Shame is a powerful tool for leveraging people to do what the dispenser of shame wants them to do. Shamers own the shamed as slaves, turning them into people-pleasers rather than God-pleasers.

Shame lives in the shadows and hides in secrecy. “If people really knew who I am and what I have done and left undone.” So we go through life apologetically rather than courageously.  And the thing here is that many of these people aren’t feeling shame over some horrid immoral act they have committed or that was inflicted upon them, but because they are living quiet, ordinary lives in a world that judges us by whether or not we have attained our 15 minutes of fame or possess the body-type that is in vogue this season.

Shame keeps us invulnerable so that intimacy to any degree and in any kind of relationship is impossible. Shame closes and locks the door to our souls, damning us to perpetual loneliness. But that’s okay, because better a bitter loneliness than the pain of disappointing others by allowing them to see we aren’t all that, eh? However, it is not only a case where we are invulnerable to giving and receiving love and care with others, but are also then closed to the joy of life itself.

Turning On The Light
Whatever lies at the root of your shame, the consequences of hiding it are far worse than the actual event(s)—spiritually, psychologically, and physically. For the shamed, walking in the light is the only hope for forgiveness (if there is need for this) and healing.

Walking in the light, primarily, refers to walking openly before the God who is Light. He sees and knows of your shame and the reasons for it. Your greatest efforts to keep this hidden are useless before His Great Light. Anyway, it’s not like you are going to take something to Him and He is going to be shocked by the revelation.  Helloooooo? He is GOD. The only way for His love to work in you and heal you, however, is to turn the light on by taking your shame to Him.

Turning on the light also means sharing our shame with others: not just anyone mind you, but with trusted friends. If this isn’t a possibility for you, if there is no one in your life that you trust here, then find a good and wise counselor and lay it all out. All of it. Believe me, light will cure what ails you.

The shaming event is part of the truth of you, a chapter in your life’s story. It’s done. You can’t change this. But it doesn’t have to be the title of your book. This is your choice and the only way to get on with the next chapter is to close this one. This is done by your choosing to drain the power of the event by turning on the lights. “This is what happened, what I did or was done to me. This is how I feel about it.” If some people want this to be the title of your life story that is their decision. All you can do here is acknowledge their choice and see to it they aren’t central characters in future chapters.

Jesus said that that the thief—a.k.a. The Accuser—seeks to rob, steal, and destroy. This is what shame does: it robs you of health, steals your joy, and destroys the faith you need for becoming and doing all God intended, when, on the day of your conception, He said, “Let There Be … You!”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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