Many Christians struggle to feel God’s love because of their own shame. My new ebook, “Breaking Your Shame Label” tackles an issue that is not addressed enough in our churches – Christians who suffer with shame because they do not believe they measure up to receive God’s love. As a result, they feel disconnected from God and have a difficult time feeling His love for them. My Sites
As a Christian counselor with a private practice in Marietta, GA, I see two frightening similarities in many Christian clients.
- They carry a burden of shame that results from an inability to control sinful behavior. We tend to believe God’s seal of approval is based on our “performance.” This creates a mindset of never measuring up to what God expects from us. This leads to what I call a Shame Label.
- There is an endless struggle to feel God’s love and presence. “What does God’s love feel like” we ask. We dare not move toward Him in fear He will label us as disappointments and reject us. What we fail to recognize is we are projecting the negative feelings we have about ourselves on to God. We have adopted lies Satan drills into our heads to hinder our relationship with the Father. We are trapped in the Christian Shame Cycle, which leaves us feeling spiritually empty.
God doesn’t want to shame you. He wants to help remove your shame. This article was written by Tim Challies, who is a blogger, author, and book reviewer and first appeared Sept. 5, 2012.
So many Christians live their lives racked with guilt and shame. They think back to the things they did, the sins they committed, whether two days ago or two decades, and they live under a cloud of shame. This shame hurts, it burns, it incapacitates. It raises this question: What is the place of guilt, what is the place of shame, in the life of the Christian? I want to take a shot at answering that question today.
We need to begin by distinguishing between guilt and shame. Here is how I differentiate between them: Guilt is the objective reality that I have committed an offense or a crime; shame is the subjective experience of feeling humiliation or distress because of what I have done. God has made us in such a way that sin incurs guilt and guilt generates shame. But there is a catch and a caution: Guilt and shame come in helpful forms and in paralyzingly unhelpful forms. Guilt and shame can be a good gift of God or a curse of Satan. Continue reading
“It’s pretty difficult to believe God loves and accepts you after you wake up in a strange man’s apartment with a massive hangover,” said Carole. “You know you are acting in a way God would not approve, so how do you approach Him when you need His help? I just can’t bring myself to be honest and contrite with Him because I’m so ashamed of the things I am doing to degrade my body.” Continue reading
I am going to share a story of a brave woman named Madeleine Black who suffered through being raped, tortured and humiliated at the age of 13. Following her assault, the shame and self-loathing she felt led her to act out in a promiscuous manner as a teenager. Finally, she found love with a healthy man and peace when she learned to forgive.
I am sharing her story not only because it demonstrates the strength and courage of one woman, but also to illustrate how as men when we seek to engage in a casual sexual encounter with a willing woman who we found in a chat room or through a sex app, we are adding to the insult they had suffered earlier in their lives. We are stripping away from them another sliver of their limited self-worth. We are contributing to the shame they experience when we use them for our own sexual pleasure. We are as guilty of hurting them as the individuals who originally caused them emotional, physical and sexual pain. Continue reading
What identifies you? Is it your job? Is it the college you went to? Is it your status in the community or church? Or perhaps it is something from your past. Maybe it’s an abusive experience that you replay in your mind again and again.
These tragic memories never seem to fade away but instead continue to haunt you until they become part of your internal fabric that you wear every day. Or perhaps it’s a series of lies you have come to believe that are part of your identity. Lies such as: “I’m not that smart.” “I’m not attractive.” “I am unlovable.” “I am worthless.” “People never like me.” Continue reading
Sally was a victim of child abuse growing up. Sitting in the counseling office she explained how she hated the verbal and physical abuse her mother inflicted upon her as a young child and into her early teen years. “I hate her for how she treated me,” Sally said with tears swelling in her eyes. “I could do nothing right when it came to her. I was never smart enough; never pretty enough; never clean enough. It was always something. Always something!
“But the worst part is I can’t forget it,” she continued. “Here I am 20 years later and I still have nightmares about her standing over me hitting me with a wooden spoon or whipping me with an extension cord. I am nervous all the time like I am expecting it to happen again at any moment.”
Sally is a victim of “bad memory flow”. That is when past traumatic events repeat over and over into our minds like an endless loop. These are events that we can’t put behind us because our brains have a difficult time rationalizing them. There is no closure or relief from the emotional pain that has been imprinted in our psyche. In turn, leads to endless anxiety, stress and acting out in destructive behaviors. What these troubling thoughts serve to do is to keep us as victims. Continue reading
As believers we are taught the Holy Spirit is our counselor. The Spirit resides in us as an amazing gift from God to enable us not only to feel His presence in our lives, but to assist us in our journey of spiritual transformation.
Photo Credit: Taylor James
But if God is in us, why do we continue to struggle with a sinful nature? Why do we continue to suffer from shame? Let’s examine several reasons. Continue reading