Anyone who knows my work as a therapist knows that I am on a crusade to eradicate shame. If you read my series on the “Flesh” than you know that I believe there are psychological and spiritual principles that demonstrate both the ineffectiveness of shame to motivate and the toxic nature of chronic shame in a person’s life.
I lived most of my life in shame’s grip and had my own relationship with God twisted by it. I’ve seen it at the root of many, if not all, of the varied issues that people come into therapy for. Decades ago, giants in the field of psychology and Christianity like David Seamands and Bruce Narramore saw shame and guilt as roads to addiction, perfectionism, legalism, and pain.
Like the Galatians, we still struggle to fully experience the truth that there is NO CONDEMNATION for those in Christ Jesus. Along those lines, I thought I would just list a few thoughts from my experiences working with others and myself in this area. The toxic nature of shame:
Shame turns inspiration into accusation
Shame turns bad situations into blame
Shame takes compliments and twists them into misunderstandings
Shame makes an action your identity
Shame turns conviction into an obsession for absolution
I’d love to hear about your journey and struggles with shame. What were your successes and failures? How have you noticed shame work in your life and what ways have you found to combat it? I welcome your questions, laments, and suggestions. Please share your experiences with the enemy of grace.