shame to transformation

Hiding is human. But if any part of you wants things to be different, it’s time to undo the shame and unlock your transformation.

Shame was not part of God’s original creation. “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25) No hiding. No feeling embarrassed. You see me, and I see you. That was the state of the relationship between Adam and Eve, and between them and God.

The moment sin entered, shame entered. And the hiding began. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3:7) That much you’ve probably heard before, perhaps many times.

But what then? Human beings don’t like shame. The response contemporary culture offers is, “There’s nothing wrong with it. So don’t feel bad; you’re OK.” Anything goes. The premise the world promotes is that everybody else’s opinion of you sets you up to feel shame, but what you did or experienced was not actually bad. That approach doesn’t work, and it certainly is inconsistent with Scripture.

But at its root shame goes even deeper. Shame says there’s something wrong with me. At my core I’m faulty. I have a sense that my very nature is bad.

Our sense of shame comes from the way God made us. Sociopaths feel no shame, but the rest of us feel like hiding when we lie, cheat, steal, etc. Don’t you try desperately to keep your shady business deals, ungodly sexual desires, or other sins hidden? Yes, you don’t want people to see that the real you is flawed. But at a deeper level, shame highlights that you and I are not living as the human beings God originally created us to be.

While our natural response to shame is to hide, the response God intends us to have is to allow our shame to drive us to Him in order to experience the transformation He offers.

The purpose of undoing the shame is not to feel better about yourself; it’s to unlock your transformation.  Tweet that.

You and I are not OK. Simply trying to feel better about yourself would be like saying the leaking roof, cracked foundation, and broken windows of a run-down fixer-upper are OK.

But the good news of the gospel is that you don’t have to stay that way. Jesus loves you unconditionally just the way He finds you, but He loves you too much to leave you in that condition. He loves you enough to invest all of heaven to transform you into who He originally created you to be.

Shame can keep you stuck if you allow it to. But shining the light on your broken places disinfects the shame. Let your desire to hide drive you away from shame and into Jesus’ arms.

Here are three ways to do that.

How to Undo the Shame

  1. Tell Somebody

Resist the hiding. Shame thrives in the dark. It’s amazing the freedom that will come into your soul when you share your struggles with another believer. This is one of the intended benefits of staying connected with the body of Christ.

God’s intended path to healing includes telling somebody. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) Some have tried to make a distinction between faults, trespasses, and sins. In the original Greek, however, the word here is hamartia, sins. Confessing your sins to another believer is not where forgiveness comes, but it is an important place of healing.

Choose who to tell wisely. Some church members may respond by heaping on additional shame; that’s not the purpose. Pray that God direct you to the one, two, or three other believers who can minister healing to you as you get out of hiding and into the light. Such believers can be so important in undoing the shame and spurring you on toward transformation.

  1. Tell Jesus

Most of us naturally try to hide our sins, brokenness, failings, shame even from Jesus. It’s not as if Jesus doesn’t already know. But as the old gospel song says, “I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus. I cannot bear these burdens alone.” It’s in telling Him that you receive forgiveness. It’s in His presence that change happens.

Peter paints a very descriptive picture of this. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) The word translated cast is the same Greek word used to describe the way the disciples threw their garments on the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem. (Luke 19:35) When you tell Jesus, you let it go. It’s not yours anymore.

Do that with your shame. Take it and throw it onto Jesus. Let Him take it away and leave you clean.

  1. Seek Healing

Healing isn’t something that magically happens because time passes. Healing is something you choose, seek, and voluntarily embrace to take into your being. Most of the time it’s not a one-and-done, but a process. Like an infected wound, undoing the shame drains the infection. Healing is the transformation process that happens after that.

Go there with Jesus. Invite Him to go with you to the places in your past and in your soul where change is needed. Let Him get below the surface. Stay in that place with Him a little while. He knows it all already anyway; give Him access and opportunity to actually do the change He wants to accomplish.

Undo the shame, and unlock your transformation. The result will be that you are no longer a fixer-upper, but a demonstration of the transformation process God wants to do for everyone.

Your Turn: Where are you hiding? Who will you tell? How will you tell Jesus, and invite Him into those dark places to bring you healing? Leave a comment below. 

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  • Undoing the shame unlocks your transformation. You do that by telling someone, telling Jesus, and intentionally choosing healing.  Tweet that. 

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