A famous physician was talking to a young woman who blamed herself for having cancer.
He asked her, “ what is it that makes you so angry at yourself – do you feel you have done something to deserve this?”
She replied, “It’s not that I’ve done or been anything. It’s that I’ve done nothing and been nothing.”
What a powerful portrait of shame.
Shame says, “I am inadequate as a human being.”
It simply says, “you are not enough. You are not smart enough , strong enough, rich enough, perfect enough.”
Whereas guilt attacks my conscience and tells me I have made a mistake, shame attacks me and tells me I am a mistake!
Shame works beneath the surface of our lives and eventually “breaks out” in destructive behaviours.
There is hope for shameful people.
Merely recognising its presence means shame can no longer sneak unnoticed in the shadows of our innermost selves.
Charlotte Elliot was an invalid most of her life.
Despite being an intellectually gifted and a talented musician, she often experienced periods of uselessness with its resulting shame.
During one of these times, she reflected upon the words “The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” and wrote the following words: Just as I am! Without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bidd’st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
My friends, the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks powerfully to our shame.
In Christ we experience a love that is unconditional.
Therefore, when the haunting voice of shame taunts us, “you are not enough,” we can look it straight in the eye and say, “yes, that’s right, Of myself, I am not enough. But in Christ I am Loved, just as I am!”
And that is enough.
Member Ceduna Uniting Church Ministry Team