There were years and years that I felt unworthy, no good, and valueless. I tried to shake it, cover it up, pretend it didn’t exist, and run away from the depressing thought of it. For some reason I wore shame daily like a coat of heavy iron without fail. Shame, guilt and overwhelming self-hatred crept into my mind daily. It was like a chain slowly choking my inner self but feeding toxic sewage into my heart with many regrets and guilt. I couldn’t see that it was suffocating my spiritual walk and further extinguishing my self-esteem, much less see how it was hindering my walk with the Lord.
I can’t pinpoint all this shame to one particular event of my past but a cumulative piling of years and years of thinking wrongly about many things. Internalizing the offense of others was buried instantly without a thought of appropriately resolving conflicts. Looking back I could see how I compromised my spirit by allowing certain relationships into my life that provoked this whole shame business in the first place.
The shame of my past all came land sliding down to a screeching halt one Sunday when I heard a message about repenting from wrong thinking. The Holy Spirit reached right through my heart barriers and set me free. Shedding shame and related assumed guilt finally made sense and I realized I had internalized a ton of unnecessary emotional “roughness” or excess relationship roughage in my mind.
This is a place we often find ourselves and where our minds like to dwell on the negative aspects of our life and it centers on the shame that creates places of self-blame. So many justifications for those abusive situations or circumstances. It could be caused by any number of reasons that can circumvent your health, finances and your relationships. These circumstances sting us and leave us hurting whether it be by words, or actions, or bad choices we have made or others have made about us.
Shame damages our spiritual lives in ways that take years to show up. Shame, blame, and guilt detract from our self-worth. God’s word, however, says what is true about worthiness and how we are made acceptable because of Jesus. There are three verses that apply to living worthy in Jesus. If we are His children then we live according to what His Word tells us and we believe that every word of it is true. These verses helped me overcome years of shame hidden in the unspoken part of my life.
1. Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” When we belong to Jesus, once we are saved and believe, then there is no accusations, or condemning words that can tell us we are otherwise. Nor can we take in the blame that others try to put on us or our lives. We belong to God’s family, so ALL condemnation has been taken for us through Jesus. The Holy Spirit will correct us and remind us of bad choices but will never shame our character. Shame says we are something, guilt shows up when we made a bad choice.
2. Romans 15:7 “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” If we aren’t found condemned then we have no place to condemn others who have accused or maligned our character. (Any time there is a “therefore” in scripture it’s important to note what it’s in there for.) We must accept ourselves and others as Christ accepts us just like we are right now, with all our weaknesses, faults, imperfections and whatever hang-ups or hurts we carry. Only God can give mercy to heal us where we need help, and over our wounds. He doesn’t cast shame when we confess to Him nor does He keep a record of wrongs against us. He is our helper through these issues.
3. Ps. 139:1-6 “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.” These verses refer to the fact that God knows us inside and out, He sees us right where we are right now, and loves us enough to put His hand of blessing upon our lives. Even though we have imperfections, we can leverage those issues to grow us in the knowledge of Him and teach us how to live by His ways.
In conclusion: I know it’s challenging to consider our worthiness in today’s world, when the world demands proof of value and acceptance. Shame is everywhere in the world, that is why it’s important to remember that God is for us, loves us, and sees us worthy. His love is unfailing and He helps us when we call upon Him. When we are feeling no-good about ourselves and unworthy to even talk to Him we can know that He doesn’t think that about us. He loves us because he IS love. The perfect kind of love that helps us over ourselves and the wounds of others who have inflicted shame upon us. God’s Spirit never shames us into righteousness, no God doesn’t shame or blame. He accepts and draws us into Him to enjoy His presence. We invites us to know Him intimately. When we cast our shame upon His able shoulders then the chains of shame are broken and we are free to be the children of God that He intended for us to be. Whole and without blame.
Blameless before God, what freedom! How has shame kept you prisoner?