When Shame Condemns Us

“What is wrong with me? Nothing I think, feel, say, or write is right. I am a mistake. I’m such a bad person.”

Do you ever feel this way? Deeply rooted shame from abuse (whether sexual, physical, verbal, mental, or spiritual) can consciously or subconsciously debilitate us and sink us into self-destructive behavior and/or self-condemnation.

Traumatic attacks on our minds, hearts, and bodies gouge a gaping wound within us, and it takes time to process the deep pain and root out the resulting shame. It can be a life-long process to acknowledge our pain, grieve what we lost, and work through all the deep emotions. 

God hasn’t created us to struggle alone. We need others, even if it’s one person, to listen to our stories, to believe us, and to support us. To listen and encourage without judgment or condescension. To remind us it’s not our fault. To tell us it’s ok to feel the way we do and to talk about it.  

Non-supportive and judgmental words, actions, and attitudes or the lack of supportive ones can hinder our healing, make us feel victimized all over again, and cause us to retreat into our own pain and throw up thicker walls around our hearts and lives.

Maybe you’ve heard some people dismiss or minimize abuse or assault? Maybe even blame the victim, ourselves included, instead of the abuser? Or mock and condemn the victim when he or she finally gained the courage to tell? It hurts deep within our souls, doesn’t it?

Has anyone ever told you,”You must not have enough faith or you would be healed by now.”? Or “Let it go. The past is past. Move on with your life.”? Or “You shouldn’t bring these things up. You’re supposed to forgive and forget.”? It’s like they’re saying “SHAME ON YOU!” while at the same time shooting an arrow into your heart.

My only hope to get through these times
is to pour out my heart to Jesus.
He cares and understands,
and He never shames or condemns us.

Perhaps you have been told it’s wrong to go to a therapist or to take anti-depressants? That it’s a sin because you’re trusting people rather than God to help you?

God created our entire beings, not just our bodies. He created our emotions, too. Just as we may need doctors and medicines as means blessed by God to heal us or to better cope with chronic illness, we may need a learned therapist and/or depression or anxiety medications to guide us through the healing of our emotional health.

I have come a long way through years of these means, because God blessed them. Other supportive people have also been used to strengthen and encourage me through this continuing, difficult journey, including many of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I have learned to better process my emotions, but I still avoid certain people or situations that I know hinder further healing, and I still get triggered from condemning remarks or attitudes thrown at victims of abuse. Then shame rears its ugly head again, and I am thrown back to painful memories. All the negative voices and insecurities flood my soul again.

I have to desperately cry out to Jesus
to rescue me and other victims.
I could never have gotten
to this point without Him.

We  have a Savior who has suffered the depths of shame to make it possible for us to heal from it. With open arms, He invites us to open our hearts to His comfort and healing grace. He desires for us to pour out all our hurts and needs to Him, even if they’re only wordless cries and sighs. And He never condemns us. He cries with us and helps us to grieve, to function, and to heal ever deeper.

Jesus says,
“The thief approaches with malicious intent,
looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy;
I came to give life with joy and abundance.”
John 10:10 The Voice

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.”
Psalm 10:17-18

“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

“Even If”
by Mercy Me

“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone…”

18 thoughts on “When Shame Condemns Us

  1. I so hear your whole heart and your struggles through your sensitive words shared here, Trudy. With you, I believe that God places people in our lives, be they doctors for our bodies or for our minds, that are doing His work for those who are hurting. May He continue to bless them in their endeavors to heal others and bring needed closure to past situations.
    Praying for you, my friend. Blessings!

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  2. This is such an important message for people to hear, Trudy! I have experienced people saying those kinds of words, which I know were well-intentioned but which made me feel ashamed and like everything was my fault. It is so reassuring to know that God always accepts us as we are and will never condemn us, and to know that there are people who will respond in the same way and listen well. As you say, it makes a big difference even to find one person like that. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lesley. Love and hugs to you, too! Yes, some people can be well-intentioned. I have come to accept it more that some people, even though they do care, will never understand the depths of the shame and the life-long process. And yes, it truly is reassuring that God always accepts us and never condemns us! May God impress that on every victim’s heart!

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  3. Oh Dear Trudy, You have offered such comfort and encouragement to me so many times through your words, and I pray that the Lord will continue to bring you the same comfort that you so freely offer to others. What an incredible thought here: “We have a Savior who has suffered the depths of shame to make it possible for us to heal from it.” Even if no one else can understand the depth of the shame & pain, HE can. I am so glad we can run to Him. Thank you for sharing your heart here. Much Love & Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your continued encouragement and prayers, Bettie. I’m grateful you gain comfort here. Isn’t it a wonder how our Savior understands the depths of our shame and pain like no one else can? I’m so glad we can run to Him, too! Much love and hugs back to you! May we keep fleeing to our precious Savior who comforts us like no one else can!

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    1. Thank you for your kind and loving words, Linda. I’m so grateful you find this filled with hope. That gladdens my heart, as I always want to point to the hope there is in Jesus. I could never live without Him, and I pray hurting souls may personally find their refuge in Him also. Bless you, too! May we be advocates for love and kindness through Jesus!

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  4. To be known is to be loved, and God so knows us and loves us. And to allow the space for others to be completely themselves is also loving on others and letting them be known. And loving too, when we can turn our hurting selves toward Christ and point others toward Christ love, healing, and redemption. You teach how to be Christ-like Trudy, and how to love ourselves and others as the Lord wants, Thank you for being such a blessing and using your gifts to show God’s love.

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    1. Thank you for your kind and loving words, Lynn. I truly do long that others may be known and loved and be pointed towards love, healing, and redemption in Christ Jesus. You have been a blessing to me as well! May God give us grace to always use our gifts to honor Him and show others His unconditional love!

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  5. So much important encouragement here, Trudy! Thank you. Shame has been a lifetime struggle for me. I couldn’t agree more with this: “It can be a life-long process to acknowledge our pain, grieve what we lost, and work through all the deep emotions.” We really have to do all 3 of those things. You will help many with your words on this page, my friend. Myself included :).

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    1. Thank you, Candace. I’m so grateful you were encouraged. I know you have battled so much with shame. You are not alone! May God heal us ever more deeply and root out all that shame that Satan loves to taunt us with!

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  6. Oh Trudy, I hear you! And my heart breaks for you, as it does for all who are caught in the shame trap. Those who hurt and are misunderstood because they are broken and need help. It can feel relentless, can’t it? But we have a Saviour who has suffered like we have. Jesus understands. He truly gets where we are coming from and how hard it is to live with pointing fingers, including those we aim at ourselves.
    This truth is such a consolation in our pain: “And He never condemns us. He cries with us and helps us to grieve, to function, and to heal ever deeper.” Thank you for opening up the wounds so we can see the light of Jesus in the darkness. Thank you too for the tremendous, hard wrought encouragement and support you offer here. It helps. Far more than you may know. Sending blessings of peace, gentle hugs and prayers to you, dear sister in Christ. xo ❤

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    1. Yes, it can feel relentless, Joy. Satan loves to use our vulnerable spots to drive us away from Jesus, doesn’t he? I’m so grateful Jesus has won the ultimate victory and truly gets where we are coming from. I know we both deal with a lot of self-condemnation. I’m so glad you feel supported and encouraged here. I, too, can honestly say that the support you give to me helps me more than you know. Sending blessings of peace, gentle hugs, and prayers to you, too! May we cling to our loving Savior who never condemns us, gives us sufficient grace, and keeps healing us ever deeper!

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  7. Dearest Trudy,

    Thank you for sharing your tender, loving heart with us. I pray for you whenever God brings you to mind. You are a treasure to so many as you fight back the shame and point us back to God, who never condemns the victim of abuse. God comforts. God vindicates. May God cover you with His wings of love, comfort, and peace. You are wise to avoid people who only bring pain and inflict shame. Love, hugs, and. healing to you, my friend 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your continued love, support, and prayers, Dolly. Romans 8:1 is such an encouragement, isn’t it? Jesus is our Safe Shelter to flee to and our Solid Rock to stand on, never condemning us when shame attacks our hearts. Yes, I used to feel more guilty for not facing people who bring pain and inflict shame, but God is showing me more and more that He wants us to give ourselves grace as He does. Love, hugs, and healing to you, too! I pray God will cover you also with His wings of love, comfort, and peace!

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