One of the most destructive forces on this earth is shame, because it attacks our spiritual and emotional life.
Unlike guilt, shame can come from actions that aren’t even wrong. Over things like our body or our family or the car we drive. Shame is an instinctual and physical experience that can manifest itself in depression and anxiety.
Shame is different from guilt in that where guilt is connected with our actions, shame is connected to our identity. As Christians, we are taught how to deal with guilt but hardly ever taught how to deal with shame.
Like King David cried out, “Oh God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.”
In the Psalms David cries out not because he had sinned against God or done any wrong to the kingdom, but because of the shame of being a man falsely accused by Saul.
So how can we deal with the weight of shame? As Christians most of us know how to deal with sin: we come to God and ask for forgiveness on account of Jesus’ death on the cross.
But what about shame? How do we deal with Shame?
By looking backward and forward. We look backward to the cross where Jesus endured our shame. He endured more shame than we could ever imagine for the purpose of bringing us into God’s family, as loved, adopted, and holy children. And we look forward to the day when we will be welcomed, not begrudgingly, not shamefully, but joyfully and warmly by our Savior. It is only through the reality of our identity in Christ in what he has accomplished and what we know he will accomplish on that final day that shame can be washed away. I am no longer a slave to shame.
It is only in the truth of our identity in the one who endured shame that we can overcome the lies about our identity that shame speaks to us. You are a child of God. You are loved, washed, forgiven and shame has no hold on you.
Only the cross can break the power of shame. Make that break today.