It's your self-hatred.
It's your hand that wants to slap yourself sometimes.
It's that memory that classifies you as horrible.
It's the action that ruined who you are.
It's the person and what they did that you can't get past.
It's what holds you captive to the flesh.
Shame moves as unending pain...
You get angry at yourself about it. You hate that part of you. If you could scalpel away the emotions, you might. But, you can't, because you feel stuck; you've been branded as sinful, horrible or tainted.
I know - shame. Shame is this little beast that lives inside. What he does is summon up guilt, guilt so insurmountable it's untamable. Then, that very guilt goes so wild; he rips apart holy.
He tells you...
"You can't be a temple when you were tempted and tainted in that way."
"You can't be God's child when you hurt another like that."
"You can't be in God's light when you found yourself so sullied in the dark."
"You can't win when you've already decided your inadequacies make you a loser."
"You can't be of worth when everyone else has declared you - worth nothing."
If Jesus is hero, shame is enemy #1.
This enemy captured me for a large portion of my life. I declared myself, silently, as an unworthy follower of Jesus because shame spouted off his propaganda - and I listened! I knew truth, but I couldn't accept it. I knew who I was, and I figured, God knew too. We had a silent agreement - shh... I wasn't good enough.
Are you living by a silent agreement?
Shame takes sons and daughters, ones declared pure as snow and tells them they're as tarnished as sin. He says, "Wash as you may, but your disgust and disdain can never be washed off."
How has he marked you irredeemable?
He marked me too. I finally realized something, however: I can't walk free if I am walking chained. Seriously. It's an either/or choice.
Either I will walk in the fullness of freedom or I will walk in the chains of shame. And, at risk of sounding too simplistic, because I know making your way to the other side can seem like a mountain-wide length of difference, in some ways it is a simple belief that frees us.
So, what feels impossible to let go of, with God, is possible. What feels insurmountable to forgive yourself for, with God, is forgiven. What feels unspeakable and incarcerated in the jail-cell of "don't talk about it" - is let go by God's grace.
The Lord reaches his hand out to you. Will today be the day you grab it? For, he wants to lead you somewhere. He wants to bring you to more. He wants to set you free so you set others free. Open up and let Jesus sit down with you right now. Let him wrap you in the cover of forgiven and forgotten, and thrown as far as the East is from the West. He longs to bring warmth to the cold lies shame has told you for so very long.
Dear Lord Jesus, right now, I ask you to draw near to my friends who are suffering in shame. Perhaps they've been suffering for a long, long time. Perhaps, right now, they feel undone. Perhaps, they don't know what to do. Put your arms around them. Pour out your love. May they see your face of compassion and redemption. May they know your heart to love them. I pray they hand over what is not theirs to carry any longer. May they know you carried it on the cross. It is finished, done and over. May they release it now into your great abyss of love. Amen.
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