Soap Won't Wash Away Your Shame!
The Holy Spirit has a specific job to do. He guides us in our decisions, comforts us and calms our fears. He keeps us in contact with God and helps us understand God’s word.
The Holy Spirit also convicts us of wrongdoing and leads us to repentance.
Those guilty feelings we experience come from the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but he never shames us - shame does not come from God.
So what is the difference between guilt and shame?
Guilt is a negative evaluation of our behaviour, when we deserve it. The feelings of guilt can be powerful and should lead to positive change in us.
Guilt says we have done something bad, but shame tells us that we are bad.
Shame is toxic, it is a feeling of not being good enough. It’s a negative evaluation of oneself which makes us feel small, tarnished all the way through. It wraps us up and shapes us and can destroy our precious personhood. Shame and depression can go hand in hand.
Shame is the belief that we are liable for punishment for who we are, so we may hide from others and from God.
Where does shame come from?
Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself, it very likely began in childhood.
When we are humiliated for our failures, it can harm our emotional well being and can reach into adulthood, and damage our self-esteem. We begin to doubt our capabilities, and ourselves, we feel of no value to others or to God.
What can be done?
Repentance and a change of behaviour is the answer to guilt. Soap is the answer to dirt, but what of shame?
Accept God loves you, more than you can possibly know.
There’s no shame in failure or being wrong, you don’t have to try harder or create rules for yourself.
Ask the Holy Spirit to awaken you to your true identity. Decide to believe what God says about you, He does not lie.
Healing from ‘shame based thinking’ will take time so be patient.
Psalm 34:5 is God’s promise for you: ‘Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame.’