Whenever we experience failure, shame and pride attempt to cover. God offers the only sure way to shake off shame, allowing us to walk free.
Three times in the last few weeks, I have been confronted by hidden shame. We may attempt to hide areas of shame in a thousand different ways, but it will insistently peak through cracks in our facade. Often, we don’t even recognized the root, but the desire to conceal any area of our lives reveals shame as the underlying source — a source resulting either from my failures or the failures of others.
Whenever I am asked to share my testimony, feelings of shame inevitably rise. The root may spring from my foolish or even sinful decisions. Other shame originated in the violations others perpetrated. After intentionally seeking repentance, and receiving, as well as extending forgiveness, I live relatively free. Yet, faint shrouds of shame still haunts, causing frustration. Why?
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame, And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced, But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.”
This verse offers hope! In it Isaiah connects four integral components: fear, shame, humiliation, and disgrace.
King David faltered and fell in a huge way. First through committing adultery and then, out of fear of being discovered, he murdered an innocent man. Shame will lead anyone, even a righteous king, down a path they otherwise would never have gone. Afterward, shame always seeks a place to hide.
Jon Bloom describes the deadly combination of pride and shame well. As if shame didn’t carry enough of a burden, it frequently partners with pride. Rather than expose us to shame, pride convinces us to bury it in all the wrong places.
Paul beautifully wrote,
“But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”
2 Corinthians 4:2
David eventually renounced his hidden sin, which wasn’t as hidden as he hoped. When he openly confessed it all to God and others, he received the ability to shake off shame and walk free of his past.
Dictionaries define shame as a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety. It carries strong regret and reproach.
King David’s shame resulted from his own sin. Often the most intense shame we feel comes by the misconduct of others, through disrespect or violation through words and deed. Shame-filled people often shame those around them as a means of covering their own condition.
“Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land. Everlasting joy will be theirs.”
What a beautiful promise! Those who have experienced abuse or misuse will receive a double portion. Get ready! God is about to give double for the trouble others have caused. He will bring honor, praise, respect, and esteem to you in double the measure for wrongs inflicted upon you. As we resist proud coverups and walk humbly, God will bring you blessing.
Because sin resides both in and around us, shame may subtly come to cloak us. Either consciously or subconsciously, we begin to align ourselves with the accuser in self-condemnation.
“Behold, I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors. I will save the lame and gather the outcast. And I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.”
The woman who suffered from bleeding for twelve long years, secretly attempted to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. Cultural humiliation of her condition drove her low. Jesus healed her, reversing the shame unjustly placed on her.
I honestly believe the weak and broken will maintain a higher position in heaven, receiving eternal rewards to compensate for the misplaced humiliation and shame they endured here on earth.
Disgrace refers to a loss of reputation and respect. God reverses the plight through His unprecedented and unmerited grace. Any degradation, discredit, or dishonor experienced, He removes, replacing it by with His grace.
Instead of hiding behind pride, expensive clothes, educational titles, successful businesses, lofty positions, or glass pulpits, God invites us to the only sufficient hiding place, Jesus Christ. As long as we choose to cower behind bitterness, resentment, sarcasm, or insecurity, we will remain prisoners of shame. To shake off shame and walk free, we follow the humble road to Christ.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
1 John 1:9
Here is the catch! We may have memorized hundreds of Bible verses, sought God’s forgiveness, and liberally forgiven others without finding freedom from shame. The residue of shame may continue to limit our ability to move forward.
A Spiritual Issue
As much as shame roots itself in human behavior, it contains a spiritual dimension. When we choose to take a stand and say, “No more!” shame must go.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Here’s the real deal! We may have humbly approached God, honestly confessing our sins and the violations of others. If so, we have received His beautiful grace, and submitted to a new way of thinking and living. One last, most crucial step remains — resist the devil.
In my instance, to shake off shame and walk free, I had to verbally declare,
“Devil, you no longer have the right or authority to hold shame over me. Jesus Christ has taken care of it all. His double-portion promise of honor, praise, respect, and esteem now belongs to me. So get lost! Get out! In the mighty name of Jesus, I command all shame to leave. You are no longer welcome in my heart, mind, or soul.”
Honestly, with the verbal renouncing of shame, I “felt” a new sense of freedom, and God enabled me to finally shake off shame. Praise His Name!