How to Overcome the Burden of Shame

Shame I Know Your nameShame…it’s not the most popular word around 

I wonder how many of us have tried her on for size. She comes in so many different varieties and colors…it’s no wonder we don’t detect her disguise.

Maybe you can feel the downcast look from others, as if they could read your mind. Do they know what sin you have committed? And if they did, would they still chide by your side? Or maybe your sin is more obvious…taking notice by everyone who passes by.

Webster defines shame as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Biblically speaking, we should feel shame whenever we dishonor God. When we disregard His commandments or act ignorantly towards Him. When we blatantly act out and sin. When our hearts become hardened to the will of God.

Sin should stir within us a repentant reaction

But what if our shame becomes crippling and hinders our emotional well-being? How then do we move on? I am reminded of a story found in Luke 7 where Jesus is eating dinner with a Pharisee. Their meal is quickly interrupted by a sinful woman who waltzes in with a flask of perfume. With her own tears, she washes Jesus’ feet and dries them with her own hair.

Considering historical culture, this would be outlandish behavior. A woman was never publicly allowed to let down her hair in front of other men. It would have been incredibly scandalous, especially in light of the woman’s reputation which preceded her. But then she goes one step more…she repeatedly kissed Jesus’ feet. Her emotional response is felt around the room.

I can only imagine the jaw-dropping experience! And to think she didn’t care a lick about what others might say. Her actions were motivated by true repentance. You could see it flowing forth from every ounce within.

This sinful, repentant woman…what great beauty resonates here. We should not feel shame from other people. Only what God thinks about us truly matters. 

“Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.Luke 7:44-48

Whatever it is you have done…Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.” Our Great Physician has the ability to heal you from any sin, every grievance, all illnesses, total failures and whatever else it is you are struggling through.

God’s grace truly is sufficient for you

How can I pray for you today?