Feeling shame

We are all wounded. Life happens to us. People hurt us. And we hurt ourselves. But when the infection of shame sets in the pain of those wounds can become unbearable and permanent.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to function so well after even serious trauma, while others who suffered the same indignity seem permanently paralyzed? Wounds such as child abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, marital infidelity, business failure, abortion, or addiction are painful. Always. But some people overcome them, heal from the wounds, and move on. Others seem stuck as though the wound happened just yesterday.

The difference is shame. Healing doesn’t happen once shame infects those wounds.

As a physician I sometimes must treat a patient whose surgical wound has become infected. Those wounds are incredibly painful, and they won’t heal until the infection is eliminated.

Shame is like that infection. And you’ll only heal from the wounds others have caused you and that you’ve caused yourself when you bring your shame into the light.                  Tweet that.

Light is a tremendous disinfectant:

  1. Light kills bacteria. Sunlight kills most harmful bacteria wherever it’s allowed to reach. High-intensity ultraviolet light will disinfect even the most resistant bacteria that have become established in a hospital environment.
  2. Light eliminates darkness. Bacteria love warm dark places. You can’t eliminate darkness by shoving it out. But turn on the light and darkness can’t exist any longer.
  3. Light heals. You perhaps know this best in the mental health arena. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) happens during long winter months of increased darkness. Getting out in the sunlight is biochemically proven to make your brain work better and lift your mood.

That sounds good for bacteria. But what about shame? How do you bring it into the light?

Truth is the disinfecting light that will eliminate shame.         Tweet that.

Jesus said “The truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) There are 3 areas of truth that work together to heal and eliminate your shame.

  1. The truth about you. The overwhelming picture of shame is that of hiding – from yourself, from others, and even from God. Shining the light of truth on your shame means coming out of hiding. Be honest with yourself about what happened and about what you did or didn’t do in response. Tell someone else who’s safe about what happened. It’s like draining the pus from an infected wound; it may hurt initially, but then healing can begin.
  2. The truth about God. He’s good. He is love. He knows you, better than you know yourself. He has an incredibly high standard that we can’t meet on our own. But He has promised to change your shameful, wounded, broken, miserable, hardened heart into one that is good and loving. (Ezekiel 36:26) He gave all of heaven in the person of Jesus to make that happen. He loves YOU. He wants YOU. He needs YOU! Read the Bible: it’s like antibiotics attacking the bacteria of your shame.
  3. The truth about what God says to YOU. Your brain can hear the truth, but healing really comes when truth makes its way from your head to your heart. This is where God’s miraculous healing happens. You’ve read His word, but then His Spirit takes those truths and speaks them to your soul. His voice penetrates through the hurt and begins the process of making your heart whole again. You experience that by remaining in His presence and choosing to give Him a chance.

And then, miracle of miracles, God takes your shame and turns it into bread whereby you can feed others. The very thing you thought would keep you hidden and tormented becomes the banner by which you demonstrate the goodness of God to those who are still stuck in shame.

Don’t stay in hiding. Bring your shame into the light. That’s where healing is found.

Your Turn: What is it that you try to keep hidden? Can you imagine what it would be like to bring it into the light? Leave a comment below.

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  • The disinfecting light of truth can heal any paralyzing shame in your soul.         Tweet that.

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