Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hold Your Head High


"Shame has no place here."

Those words penetrated my heart this morning. Over and over God poured them into my soul.

Shame is a destroyer. It detracts from the truth of God's mercy and grace. It causes you to forget your value and worth as a child of the Most High King. 

I know shame well. We are more than acquaintances unfortunately. I first met shame in my own life and got to know it very well. Now, in working with sexual assault survivors, I have continued to encounter shame over and over again. 

The funny thing about shame is that usually you can only see the true identity of shame when it is occupying someone else. It's easy for me to look into the faces of survivors and tell them that they have nothing to be ashamed of. But when shame inhabits your own heart, it is much more difficult to see the truth. When shame is there speaking directly to your own heart, it is hard to silence it.

One thing I see in my work with survivors is that shame is much stronger if it has visited before for the same reasons. These survivors are thrown straight into the pits of shame and despair if this is not the first time they have experienced abuse. Their mind immediately walks with shame into the paths of: "What is wrong with me? There must be something wrong with me that has caused this to happen more than once."

Not only do they walk down that path with shame, but they hold its hand and cling to it because they so desperately want to make sense of their storm that they will cling to this false belief in order to feel some comfort or control.

Friend, I have been there. More than I would like to admit. I have clung to shame. I have worn it like a badge that I worked hard to earn.

But hear me right now, friend: Shame is a liar.

And as a child of God, shame has no place here.

The truth is that we live in a fallen world. We live in a world of fallen people and we will have to walk through some hard, hard things. We will wonder why it's happening and shame will tell us that it is all our fault even when it isn't. Shame does not belong in your heart. It has no place there.

Shame will keep us from confiding in those closest to us. Shame causes us to hide our hurts and our struggles and our fears. But God tells us to share those things. He tells us to bear one another's burdens.

Whatever shame is telling you today, let it go. Call shame the liar that it is. Whatever shame is causing you to hide from the body of believers that God has placed alongside you, break those barriers and speak your heart. If shame is causing you to hang your head, lift your eyes. Hold your head high in the knowledge of your identity as a beloved child of God. He sees your heart. He sees your hurts and your struggles and your fears. Let Him in.
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