The Crippling Power of Shame
Shame. The curse of our generation and culture. Shame is the power to destroy ones self esteem and personal image. It ruins lives and keeps us from progressing and moving forward. It destroys relationships and families. I have thought a lot about shame and how it has controlled my life over the years. I grew up with that "Shame on you" everytime I was doing anything that was considered out of line.
Shame is one of the leading factors leading to problems in marriage, personal growth, and personal progression. Shame holds us back and destroys our self confidence and even our motivation to move forward.
Living in a Christian Culture is really a challange. Shamed for not ever being good enough and not being perfect. And really if you think about it Shame has no place in a true Christian Culture. I always look to Christ for the standard and I cannot recall one time where He shamed anyone. One of my favorite stories is the one where the leaders of the community bring a woman to him caught in the act of adultery. I love how the Savior drops to her level and takes the attention off of her as He writes in the dirt. Never using harsh words on her and never shaming her for what she was caught doing. "Woman were are thou accusers"? and "Go thy way and sin no more". Not "what were you thinking" or " you know better" or "how could you". None of that, just pure love and encouragement to "Go thy way and sin no more".
Would not it be wonderful to live by that, "Go thy way and sin no more". Basicly He was telling her to not let what she had done define her, and yes he encouraged her to do better, but not once did He shame her or bring her down. He lifted her up and encouraged her. Him not saying in reality was saying so much to her. You are far better then the sins they condemn you for, You are a daughter of God capable of better, Be happy and go enjoy the journey letting go of the shame. Can you imagine how that would be in our culture is we could practice the same.
Often times the Shamefull way we treat those who "we think" have sinned pushes them further down the road of stuggles and pain. Learning from the Savior that if we would encourage and not shame the person would be better off.
Shame has no place in our culture. Shame is a tool of Satan. He shames us and wants us to wallow in our shame. If we wallow in it and get comfortable we stay there. We don't move forward and what ever we feel shame for traps us and we are in bondage.
Did you ever consider that Satan defines us and wants us to be defined by our weaknesses, no matter how small or uninportant they are he leaves us feeling worthless and shamed.
On the other hand the Savior does not define us by our weaknesses. He looks past them and sees all we are and all we are capable of. That is not excusing our weaknesses, it is just that the Savior knows as we look to Him our weaknesses can become our strengths. He sees who we are and what we can become. I often imagine sitting across from the Savior as He looks over my life and sees my weaknesses. I can imagine Him saying "Brad, you might need to work on this, but lets talk about the good things you do". I believe that most do more good than the things that Satan would and does magnify and make us believe that is all we are. We are so much more then the things we are experiencing. So much more.
I love to replace the word Shame with Remorse. Shame is bondage, Remorse is fluid. It moves forward. As we feel remorse and adjust and move forward learning from the experience and trusting in God we can grow and become better. We all make mistakes and some are bigger than others. Often we can see the growth of others, but fail to see how much we are growing and learning from the experiences we are having. Feeling remorse is healthy and pushes us forward to being a better person.
We can change the culture of shame by never shaming others and by especially not shaming ourselves. Replace shame with affirmations. Positive affirmations that lift and build ourselves and those around us. A positive affirmation can do a millioin times more good and have a longer lasting benefit then shame could ever do. Shame destroys, positive affirmations build and strengthen leading to a life filled with more peace. And lets face the facts here. If we were as good at affirming as we are at shaming the world would be a better place indeed.
For me personally I am finding that the less I shame myself for the things I do the better I am a moving on and improving. I know I will always be faced with challenges to overcome and the less I shame the stronger I become.
You are a beautiful person, even with all your flaws and imperfections. You are beautiful beyond description.
Have a wonderful shame free day.