At a recent ReTrain session, we reflected on shame’s relentless assault on all of us, and we reflected on God’s counter to that assault. There are very few things that are more important.
WORDS FOR SHAME
We sometimes miss shame because we zero in on guilt. Though shame and guilt are similar, they are not identical, and shame is the more prominent in Scripture.
We experience shame when we sin and want to hide that sin. We also experience shame when we are sinned against by others. Sexual violation is the most obvious of these injustices, but we could also include rejection by parents or a spouse, constant criticism, and anything that leaves us always feeling wrong and marginalized.
Once shame is identified, we begin to see it everywhere. Low self-esteem was one phrase we used at ReTrain. Shame often hides under it. And there are scores of other ways shame manifests: feeling contaminated and dirty, feeling exposed and inadequate, feeling like you never belong or fit in. Rejection, failure, worthless, a big fat zero, a disgrace, disgusting, always wanting to hide and cover up, in bondage, unlovable, loser. Thoughts of suicide often emerge out of shame.