Is it something you can easily brush off? An occasional twinge, but nothing serious?
Or is it a lingering malaise, a black cloud that follows you around and leaps on you when you’re tired and defenseless?
We read a lot about the role of shame in eastern cultures. In the west perhaps we’ve moved on- even the worst offenders can cite endless justification for their crimes. But whether we suppress it or tie it to the wrong things (baggy knees say, or an untidy home) – I wonder if shame is just a s prevalent as it ever was. From eating disorders and self-harm, to myriad body projects, it just leaks out in new forms.
The author Dan Allender , argues that shame is more than simply feeling bad. It’s the result of putting our trust in idols that fail – and leave us with egg on our faces. To try and deal with this, we use contempt – turned on others or ourselves. We become further alienated – from God, from ourselves and from relationships. We try to cover up our shame and end up making it worse.
Shame is real. It’s turning from the living God and following idols that let us down, again and again. We can’t deal with it ourselves. But Jesus can – and has. In Him we can dare to be ourselves – and to know genuine acceptance.