Ministry Resources

Dealing With Shame

Author: The Journey Online Team

So I did it! The one thing I told myself I would not do, I did. Now I find myself ashamed of what I have done, what it makes me and there is no feeling better about it. I can’t go back in time and take it back, so for today or maybe even the rest of the week I am going to beat myself up about it. Sound familiar?

One of the other ways to feel ashamed is when someone else does something to you and hurts you in a way that they can’t comprehend. Shame and guilt tend to be friends; if you are ashamed of your choices, you usually feel guilty about them. But unlike guilt, you can feel ashamed due to no fault of your own.

Not All Answers are Equal

I have looked though the internet and found thousands of sites on how to deal with shame. None of them state that shame is a good thing. Feeling ashamed and guilty about doing something wrong is our moral compass and is generally a good thing. You should feel bad about stealing, hurting someone or yourself. You should not feel that you are not loved or that you are unlovable. While in your life you have done “bad things,” you are not “bad.”

In my research, I was heartbroken about some psychologists’ answers to shame. Robert D. Caldwell wrote:

“Shame cannot be remedied, it must be somehow endured, absorbed, gilded, minimized or denied.”

How hopeless! I can’t do anything but endure my feelings of shame. Not only do I believe he is wrong but I believe that your shame does not have to be endured or minimized, but that it can be entirely removed.

Understanding the “Why”

What I needed to address was why I was feeling ashamed. My shame was not me doing something but rather something was done to me. Someone I trusted hurt me deeply and once that happened, I started feeling ashamed of who I was; that I was not good enough.

“Your shame does not have to be endured or minimized…”

Not good enough for them and not good enough for anyone. It felt like getting up in the morning and getting hit by a bus. I didn’t ask for it, it just happened. I even find myself today struggling with self-confidence because of the feeling that I am not good enough.

So how do you deal with shame? Since we know that the core feeling in shame is the feeling of unworthiness or worthlessness the best way to free yourself from shame is to find your self-worth again. The problem in placing all of your worth on yourself is that you will continually think that you are unworthy and not good enough. So where do you get your worth?

Your True Worth

“Jesus is compassionate and will remove your shame.”

Your real worth is not found in yourself, and it is not found in others. It is found in Jesus. He found you worthy enough to die for you, worthy enough to love you in a way that no one else can. He finds you worthy enough to lift you out of your shame. Jesus is compassionate and will remove your shame. (Micah 7:19)

The only thing you need to do is give Him your shame and your feelings of unworthiness and worthlessness. Once you surrender your worth over to the one who made you, then you begin to understand what your real worth is. There is no need to endure your shame or minimize it. Rather the need is to know that there is a God who loves you and finds you worthy, no matter what has been done to you; no matter what you have done.

If you would like to overcome your shame, please pray with me.

Lord, please forgive me of my sins and the things that I have done wrong. Help me to understand that I am of value, that I am worthy to receive love, your love. I give you my feelings of shame. Please take them from me. I receive your love. Please let it take the place of my shame. Help me find my value in you. Thank you for dying for me. Restore my worth. Amen.

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