Shame is one of the most pernicious lies that we can become captive to. I never used to think I was ensnared by shame, simply because nothing shameful had happened to me, or been done by me. I’d made mistakes, but knew that I was forgiven. Yet, deep down inside my heart, the belief about who I was, said, “You are a problem.” That is exactly what shame is.
Shame says that you are somehow defective, unwanted, unloved, and a problem.
God has created each one of us for a purpose. Each of us has a unique and valuable destiny, purpose, and calling on this earth. That purpose, boiled down to its most basic part, is to believe in God, and to do the good works He created us to do. Your personality, gifts, talents, and specific call from God will determine what that will look like. But the important part is: you are on purpose, for a purpose!
Do you know where the sense of shame first crept in for you? As I mentioned above, I didn’t even know shame was operating in my heart for a long time! We must overcome shame, and to do so, we must understand the lies and deception that shame clothes itself in!
My daughter has a robotic toy dog that her grandma gave her. She was afraid of it at first, so when we walked it toward her she would immediately knock it on its side. Even when she was in control of the remote control ‘leash,’ if the dog was upright and began walking, she would swoop down with her little arm and knock it on its side. The little mechanized legs would be moving, at her push of the button, but it was no longer a threat to her. She drags it all over the house that way. On it’s side, barking, legs moving, but never allowed to be ‘walking.’
I wonder if that’s how the devil feels about us. He knows the power of Christ in us. The power to move mountains, scale walls, overcome, ultimately defeating his work and power in our lives, and the world. So he does something to knock us down in shame: a thought, an abuse, a mistake. At first we will hop right back up. But, time after time after time, we might not get up so easily. We might even be deceived into thinking that we are upright. Legs and arms moving wildly in the air, however, our works are not birthed from faith, our steps are not gaining ground. Rather, we are just busy doing ‘religious deeds’ that will not produce fruit. This promise from God reveals His desire for our lives:
Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10
God’s desire is for us to enjoy the fruit of our deeds as we walk in righteousness. We when believe lies about who we are, we will never be able to enjoy the fruit of the right-standing, perfectly justified, holy, cleansed life that is ours:
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self -control. . . Galatians 5:22-23
If you find yourself in this position get up, hold your ground and stand!
The enemy has no right to knock you down. Your position in Christ is firm, established and unshakable. It is so because of Him, not because of you. Don’t get ‘knocked down’ through shame. Shame does not merely tell you that you made a mistake and need to repent (that is correction); shame says that you are a problem, unworthy, unlovable, in the way, unwanted, and basically not good for or fit for use of any kind. This thinking keeps us down, moving our feet in a ‘walking, taking ground’ movement, but we are unable to take any ground.
Correction points out the problem, and the consequence. Correction leads to repentance, forgiveness, and moving forward. Correction says, this action is wrong, turn away from it, and learn a better way as you walk with God. Condemnation, on the other hand, points to you. You are bad. You are problem. You are a failure. You are not worthy, lovely or lovable. You, you, you, will never measure up.
Freedom from shame has come, as God has lovingly, and gently, revealed it to me. Maybe something was done to you that caused you to feel shame. Maybe it was your choices that caused this. But know this: God corrects, and leads to life and freedom. Shame condemns and causes hiding, holding back and fear.