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…”

No Giant Is Too Big For God

god-is-greater

Do you sometimes feel like you are battling giants? Like you’re constantly retreating? Like you’re just too weary to fight anymore?

There can be so many giants in our lives, can’t there? I can’t begin to name them all, but two biggies for me this past week were discouragement and fear.

It’s hard not to be discouraged when the continuing battle of chronic illness gets me down. My body attracts bugs so easily, so I often catch the viruses flying around. They usually succeed to wreak havoc in my bronchial tubes. My husband came down with a nasty one the week before, and I begged God to please keep me from getting sick again. He had different plans. But even as I knew it was starting in my body, I felt God whispering, “My child, haven’t you asked me to deepen your trust in Me? Let go and surrender your way into My way of making it happen.” Sometimes God doesn’t give us our way, but He helps us to have peace with the plan He chooses.

Then there’s this year’s presidential election. Discouragement and fear looms in many hearts. Many have been belittled and trampled upon. Deep hurts remain in women, minorities, and the vulnerable like the handicapped, etc. People who need to be loved, respected, and accepted just as they are. People who need grace, support, and healing. People who are just as precious in God’s sight as the next person.

Our hearts may droop in discouragement and freeze with fear. But God is still in control of the giants in our way. We are never alone. We have God on our side, and He will never, ever fail or abandon us! So let’s keep moving forward, one step at a time. Remembering that God cares about each and every one of His unique creations.

What giants are looming over you and intimidating you? Taunting you with lies that victory is impossible? Blocking the way forward in the path God has chosen for you?

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.
My enemies will retreat when I call to You for help.
This I know: God is on my side!”
Psalm 56:8-9

David said to the Philistine,
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin,
but I come against you in the name of the Almighty,
the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
1 Samuel 17:45

“So be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.
For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.
He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Lord, You are Almighty and You are still in control, no matter what happens in our hearts, our lives, our world. But oh, Lord, sometimes we get so discouraged, so worried, so afraid. We cry to You for help, because anything is possible with You. Help us to truly believe You have already gained the victory over the giants of sin and death and Satan, and no giant in our lives is too big for You. You know the giants in each of our hearts, some hidden from human eye, but never from You. Thank You for loving us so much and counting it a delight to care for us. Please remove all uncharitable thoughts from our hearts. Help us to treat others with love and kindness as You have treated us. Help us to trust in Your love and power and grant healing in each of hearts.

“Giants Fall”
by Francisca Battistelli

“Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall

We could really live like this
Can’t you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face…”


brave

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Building Up or Tearing Down? Lessons from Geese

Geese formation

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)

Acceptance. Encouragement. Building up. Not fault-finding. Not tearing down. Not letting hurting ones fend for themselves. God’s geese have it right, and we can learn so much from them.

Are We Wreckers or Builders?

I watched them tearing a building down,

A gang of men in a busy town.

With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell,

They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,

As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”

He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!

Just common labor is all I need.

I can easily wreck in a day or two

What builders have taken a year to do.”

And I tho’t to myself as I went my way,

Which of these two roles have I tried to play?

Am I a builder who works with care,

Measuring life by the rule and square?

Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,

Patiently doing the best I can?

Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,

Content with the labor of tearing down?

~Author Unknown~