I don't know how to deal with shame. It's not something we talk about a lot with others because well, we feel uncomfortable about it. For years I've been trying to deal with this deep seeded, subconscious yuck. This feeling that paralyzes me. And it's easy to not deal with it by not talking about it. But I know I'm not alone. I know we all deal with shame in our lives. Because shame is a consequence of sin. And we're all sinners after all.
Webster defines shame as "the painful feeling of having done or experienced something dishonorable, improper, foolish; disgrace; a cause for regret, disappointment." We may feel shame when we let someone down. Or when we've made a bad choice, especially if there are big consequences. If you don't let it go, shame can hold on to you for a long, long time. It can be devastating. It can keep you from growing, the way God intended for you.
Why is it so hard to let it go? I don't know the answer to that one. In fact, I'm not all together sure how you get rid of shame, particularly if it's hiding deep inside. But I want to offer hope. I was kindly reminded of God's truth in a way I had never thought of before. It's not that I had never heard it, but I had sort of glossed over it. Never really taking it to heart.
I know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He became a living sacrifice, our atonement for sin. But there's more to it. Not only did he die for our sins, but he took away the shame that goes with it. More times then I can count I have sung about how Jesus took away our sin and shame. That awful, regret-filled, guilty, shameful feeling is covered by the blood of Jesus.
So maybe that's the road to healing shame. Remembering that shame is something I can give to God. That Jesus died to remove that from me. And holding on to it, well, that's just another one of my sins. It doesn't matter why I feel the shame. But the fact that I am still chained to it, that it still has such a powerful grip on me is wrong.
I just thought I would share. Because I know there are others crippled by that shame. And God offers hope for us, through Christ Jesus.
My chains are gone. I've been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace.
("Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone" by Chris Tomlin)