Monday, March 3, 2014

Disempowering the Shame of Past

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
― Brené Brown
Tricked into isolation,
It’s the shame for our sin,
Overcome it by testifying,
Then God lets the light in.
One thing I quickly learned in the AA Fellowship was the positive power of sharing my story. As I shared with a sponsor or with the gathered crowd at a meeting, those ten minutes or one hour or longer time period was a platform for the disempowering of my shame. What I brought into the light then had no more power over me in the dark.
I learned that by testifying to some ‘shameful truths’ those facts about me would no longer be a discouragement. Of course, a big part of the passage God’s light in these situations was the validation of loving people who listened and affirmed.
We all have some things we are ashamed of; things we feel regret for; things we wish we hadn’t done or had done differently.
When we think about God’s purpose for shame we quickly understand that this sense of purgatory was never meant to remain with us.
God’s purpose for shame is simply to motivate us to repent; that can be done in a moment. But we may have suffered shame for years. And we know who is behind it. It is Satan – the enemy of souls.
Opening Up Before the Trusted and Trustworthy
So it is clear how we are to disempower the shame of the past. We must have the courage to open up and share, but we should only open up with those who are trusted and trustworthy. Opening up before people who may judge and condemn will only drive our shame deeper and further from the God of our help.
Instead, we can open up and share liberally with someone who is in touch with God’s grace; who knows intimately their own personal need of such grace.
When, as the listener, we are in touch with our own sinful nature, we are astounded and amazed at how much we may hear that will not shock us. When people’s hearts are filled with compassion God enlarges the capacity for love and acceptance is the default.
***
There are two steps in disempowering the shame of past: 1. Find a trustworthy person (a counsellor or mentor) to share with, 2. And, with courage, make the effort to share. Your testimony will be met with loving acceptance.
***
When people’s hearts are filled with compassion God enlarges the capacity for love and acceptance is the default. Shame withers and is found without substance when it’s met with the compassion of God’s healing grace.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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