Shame is Deadly
Did you know that we were never wired to feel shame? We were wired for love. Brain Scientists have proven that our brains are designed for love, joy and peace, and that the human brain has no natural ability to handle negative experiences or thoughts. Researchers have proven that when we are subjected to negative thoughts, such as shame, anger and fear, our brains short circuit, by releasing hormones and chemicals throughout the body. When this reaction happens our body is thrown into chemical chaos, creating toxicity in the body and mind. We can conclude in this finding that unhealthy shame is making us sick, mentally, emotionally and even physically.
Read Psalm 31:9
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
What affect did David’s emotions have on his body?
What physical or emotional reactions do you have when you are faced with hurtful thoughts or negative experiences?
So if we were never created for shame where did it come from?
Where Shame Began
Read Genesis 3 (for longer scriptures, click on the link to read)
Here is the first story of mankind, created to walk in harmony with God, in love, in peace and in joy. They had all that they needed, and had a promise to live for eternity with God. You will often hear people say that when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered, but I want to add that when Adam and Eve sinned against God Shame entered.
Genesis 3: 8-10 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
This is a true display of a person hiding in shame. The saddest part is that it was their awareness to their nakedness that made them ashamed, but before the fall, man walked naked, completely exposed before God, nothing hidden.
If Adam and Eve walked naked with the Lord in peace before they ate the forbidden fruit, why did nakedness become a thing of shame?
Shame and Loss of Identity
Adam and Eve lost their identity. Shame has such a powerful and instant way of clouding who we really are, and what we are really here for. It brings our focus off of God and onto ourselves, and it makes us very disillusioned and act in ways contrary to the truth.
Read 1 John 3:1-3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.
According to John 3:1 what is our true identity?
Why does the world not know their true identity?
The Circle of Shame
When Shame entered so did sin, abuse, lies, secrets, and abandonment; and we are left hiding in the garden away from God. The Circle of shame is when shame creates sin then that sin creates shame, and then that shame turns us back to sin. When I refer to sin, it is not only our sin that causes our shame, someone can sin against us and cause us immense pain, therefore leading to shame. Shame is cyclical and a very big trap for all of us. Something that has us held down, unable to move, and keeps us from moving forward.
An example of the sin shame cycle can be in relation to overeating. We feel ashamed of who we are so we eat to hide the pain, but when we overeat and gain weight we feel ashamed and worthless, so we overeat to hide that pain. It’s a vicious cycle.
Can you identify a sin/shame cycle in your life?
The Good news is that God has come to set us free from the effects of shame brought on by ourselves and others. This is just the beginning, and we are going to dig a little deeper this week and dissect shame even further before we begin the journey out.
Next Topic : Healthy Shame vs Unhealthy Shame