Shame is the Stigma of Life

Shame is the Stigma of Life

Do you remember your earliest experience with shame? For some, it can be a result of receiving a look of condemnation from an authority figure.  For others, it may have manifested as a result of not being chosen to play on an athletic team.  So what is shame?  It is a painful emotion that is always caused by a deep self-disappointment, a sense of inner-humiliation, or a condition of embarrassment.  The stigma of such events can last for a life time.

John Bradshaw defines the difference between guilt and unhealthy shame as follows: “Guilt says, “I’ve done something wrong.”  Shame says, “There is something wrong with me.”  Guilt says, “I’ve made a mistake.”  Shame says, “I am a mistake.”  Guilt says, “What I did was not good.”  Shame says, “I am no good.”  Some of the most damaging and discouraging words in the English language is, “Shame on you!” Don’t receive it.  Through the cross Jesus took the shame on Himself for us all.

Psalm 31:17

“Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to You.”

Practical Application and Assignments:

Shame attacks self-confidence. It gives “no way out” with honor. People filled with shame are easily identified.  Shame causes them to keep their head down and avoid eye contact.  When we internalize shame to the point that it becomes our identity, we can become emotionally paralyzed with a sense of hopelessness.

  • Shame is a treacherous enemy. Don’t hang out with it. Everything about it is destructive. Shake it off!
  • Don’t accept shame. The inner wound of shame must be dealt with by forgiving and releasing yourself from personal disappointments and unrealistic expectations.
  • Change your perception. Analyze what you are feeling. Deal with guilt by correcting your behavior. Tell shame, “You are dismissed!” Don’t believe the lies!

“Fear not: for thou shall not be put to shame.” Isaiah 54:5

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