We all have a little shame buried someplace in our life. Shame and guilt often go together but we need to split them apart here. Guilt is feeling bad for something you screwed up. We feel guilty when we lose our temper or spend too much money. Shame is thinking YOU are bad. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. We all experience shame on some level.
Shame is so corrosive because it has the power to convince us that that little voice in our head is right after all. The one that says “I knew you’d fail,” “You’ll never really belong,” and “Who would love you?” We cover our shame with masks, relationships, lies, self-harm, and with whatever else works at the time. Shame has been linked to addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders and bullying, so it’s crucial that we learn ways to deal with it and to build healthy barriers against it. Shame wounds us over and over and over unless we have the courage to see it for what it is, hand it over to God, and let the love of Christ heal it.
There are three strategies that will help you step away from shame and move a little closer to wonderful. First, cry out to God from a place of brokenness. What we need to do is humble ourselves before God so that he can heal our shame and restore our lives. The Scriptures are full of stories of people who blew it and then cried out to God from a place of brokenness.
Psalms 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Let’s admit that we feel ashamed of some of the things we have done and said. Let’s get real, with ourselves and with our friends, and admit that we have a past that is full of hurt. The ground is level at the foot of the cross and Jesus exalts those who humble themselves before God so healing from shame starts with humility.
Second, bring shame into the light. Often, the last thing we want to do is talk about why we feel shame. We worry that if someone finds out how horrible we are they will run from us. But when we cover it, we don’t actually deal with it and it clings to us and we always know it’s there. The truth is the more we talk about what shames us the less power it has over our lives.
Once we bring the shame into the light the healing can begin. Where do you feel shame in your body? Do you walk as if you are defeated? Do you feel it in your gut? Your head? Your hands? Where do you carry your shame? Share your shame with God. He knows about it anyway. Bringing shame out of the dark diffuses it with the love of Christ. Let the light of Christ begin to soak into the shadows of your life and bring healing.
Third, at some point we have to stop shaming ourselves and start embracing God’s truth. Paul tells us what happens when we give our lives to Jesus, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Feeling shameful keeps us from confidently approaching God’s throne and having a close personal relationship with Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, all of them. He loves you and wants to walk with you right now. He wants you to find hope, healing, and your future in His will.
The author of Hebrews 10:22 writes: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22
In conclusion, your past doesn’t determine your future. You are not who you were. Shame ties you to an event that you desperately want to cover, but the reality is the more you cover it, the less you will heal. Leave your shame at the cross and receive the freedom Jesus has for you so that you can move from wounded to wonderful.
Everyone deals with anger on some level. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. God can transform your wounds into a wonderful part of your story if you let Him. The Psalmists writes: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” Psalm 29:11. It is possible for you to have peace in your life.
Anger in and of itself isn’t a sin, it’s what we do with it and what we are angry about. The OT records that God got angry about 375 times. Jesus demonstrated righteous anger and didn’t sin even though he was angry. We can learn to do the same.
Unless you deal with your anger, it will always come out somewhere. Your anger might come out in words, actions, or the way you treat others. You might internalize some of your anger resulting in depression, negative thoughts, self-harm, or a myriad of health problems. Anger may also come out in vindictive ways such as revenge or manipulation.
What causes us to feel anger? Anger can come from an emotional or physical hurt. Physical pain can cause short-term anger, but emotional hurt can have lasting effects. Anger can also come from frustration, insecurity, or unmet expectations. Once we understand what causes anger and see how we typically respond, the logical next step is to actually deal with the root cause.
There was a huge fire at a recycling center. There were old tires, cardboard boxes, mattresses, and just about everything else just piled in a heap near a tire shredding machine. As tires were going through the shredder, a spark jumped out and ignited the cardboard which ignited the plastic which ignited everything else. In the same way when we store up unresolved issues in our heart it doesn’t take much to ignite an angry fire. The more unresolved issues we stuff in our lives, the bigger the risk of an angry fire.
So how do we diffuse anger? First, admit you are angry. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:26-27 that when anger is present we should acknowledge it and control it. We are not to hang on to unresolved anger. Second, identify the real source of your anger. Often we take out our anger other people and things instead of dealing with the real source. Ask God to shine his searchlight on your heart to help you identify the real source of your anger. Third, surrender your anger to God. James 4:11–12 tell us to do this. So often we want revenge, but God wants us to give our anger to Him because He is the judge.
If you need to take righteous action on your anger, you may need to talk to the person who offended you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to reconciliation. We don’t have to tolerate injustice or offences without taking action. We are told to speak the truth in love. On the other hand we want the Holy Spirit to bring us to a place of brokenness so that we can heal from the anger burning inside. This is so hard, but this is what believers are called to do. You don’t have to carry the pain anymore, you can give it to God.
Firefighters keep shooting water into the pile of rubble because there are often smoldering hot spots that can ignite again. Our hearts can have hot spots too, that flare up from time to time when we least expect it because we haven’t dealt with the anger. We need the Holy Spirit to get to the center of our hearts. If you don’t allow God’s Spirit to saturate your heart, you might see another flare up.
If you are ready, take a step of faith and identify what or who is the cause of our anger. Do you see a person’s face? Do you see what they did to you or said to you? Are you angry at yourself? What is the real source of your anger? When you surrender your anger, you will have peace in your heart. If you have been mad at yourself, ask God to forgive you for whatever you did and step into freedom. If you need to forgive someone, do the best you can to start that process today. You might have to do this over and over, and each time you do, you will move a little bit more from wounded to wonderful.
For just a minute I want you to think about this question. When you think about an authentic person, what comes to mind? What makes that person authentic? When I think of authentic people I think of someone who is comfortable in their own skin. They don’t hide their mistakes nor do they lead with them, they are just real. We want others to be authentic and we want to be authentic, but because we are wounded, we are afraid to be real.
The only way we will become the authentic people that God wants us to be is to let God turn our wounds into something wonderful. He can and will redeem them if we make the choice to stop hiding them. But if we don’t deal with deceit, fear, anger, shame, and loss, they will impact every area of our life. Each of the five wounds are significant because they impact us in profound ways.
Our inner wounds always manifest themselves in external ways. Our wounds are revealed when we lose our temper, in our lack of transparency with friends, in various forms of addiction. All of us our wounded and these wounds bleed over into all other areas of life.
Where did we get these wounds? Some of the wounds we have come from our childhood, from parents or teachers or coaches. Wounds can come from anyone and anywhere, and unless we deal with them we learn to mask them.
If you want to find inner healing you are going to have to look within and get in touch with your real feelings, needs, and values. This can be painful, but how would your life be different right now if you let God transform your wounds into something wonderful? Rather than trying to mask the wound, what if you let Jesus redeem it and use it for his glory? Let’s do some work in this area right now and expose our first wound, the wound of deceit.
There are three questions that we need to ask ourselves in order to defeat deceit. The first question is, what is the lie I tell myself? Think back on your childhood for a minute. What wounds do you see? Who wounded you? What is the lie that you have told yourself ever since you received this wound? Do you even believe it’s a lie? The wounds we have echo in our heads on either a conscious or subconscious level and they impact everything.
This leads into the second question we need to ask ourselves: What is the mask I wear to cover my wound? We wear masks to protect ourselves from scrutiny and judgment and to keep up our public image. Here are a few more examples of the masks we wear to cover our wounds.
We also mask our wounds with things and stuff. We fill our lives with all the bells and whistles or superficial relationships because we want everybody else to think we have it all together. When we do that, it can result in anxiety, depression, restlessness, frustration, addiction, and lack of meaning and fulfillment in life. So what mask do you wear to cover your wound?
The third question is, what is the truth that I need to tell myself? I am……..what? Here are a few of God’s truths that will override the lies, help you take off your mask, and heal your wounds.
I am loved. 1 John 3:3
I am accepted. Ephesians 1:6
I am a child of God. John 1:12
I am Jesus' friend. John 15:14
I am a temple of God. His Spirit and his life lives in me. 1 Corinthians 6:19
I am a member of Christ's body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
I am a Saint. Ephesians 1:1
I am redeemed and forgiven. Colossians 1:14
I am complete in Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:10
I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1
I am a new creation because I am in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
God wants to meet you in your pain. He loves the real you. Telling yourself God’s truth is the first step in letting Him heal your wound and turn it into something wonderful. So let’s face our wounds, drop our masks and claim the truth over our lives.