Definition – noun: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety, a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute. (Merriam-Webster)
Hearing the word itself evokes thoughts and feelings that make us want to turn our head in another direction.
It might be said that there is nothing that grieves the heart of God more than seeing a soul of His suffering under the burden of shame. Shame has to get God’s attention. It is not the will of God that people suffer under the weight of shame.
How do I know that? The Word gives us clear-cut proof this is indeed the case.
A Man Named Cain
The man is Cain, the famous brother of Abel. Most people having any familiarity with the Bible know about the interchange between Cain and Abel.
In short, Abel had a heartbeat for the things of God. Able wanted to please the Lord and do things God’s way. Cain also wanted to please the Lord. However, Cain wanted to do things “his” way. God’s sacrificial requirement was fulfilled by blood, the slaying of an animal.
Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. Cain’s was not. Cain became jealous of his brother and killed him.
Have you ever wondered why the Lord allowed Cain to live after he killed his innocent brother Abel? I have. Why didn’t God just strike him dead and annihilate him for his selfish, despicable deed?
It could be answered by the following two verses:
And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. Genesis 4:13-14
God knew Cain’s heart. Cain regretted his act, and in, essence repented of his sin. Cain really did want to please God. He really did. He did not want to be separated from the ‘face’ of God, God’s presence. And God heard Cain’s acknowledgement of shame.
There was another man who committed an act just as grievous as Cain’s. His name was David. He also did not want to be separated from God’s presence after his own entanglement with shame and sin:
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Psalm 51:11
Psalm 51. The song of David’s repentance, “When Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba” (and after having her husband’s death pre-arranged).
Another man acquainted with shame.
Cain’s words did something to the heart of God. David’s words in Psalm 51 did something to the heart of God. The Lord hears cries of shame. And it does something inside of His heart.
Why? Because God had a plan to address the sin issue, the shame issue.
The Romans designed crucifixion as a method of death in the most shameful, disgraceful way possible. It was a fulfillment of God’s plan way before the thought entered their mind:
His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God; that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:23
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Galatians 3:13
Jesus knows what shame is. Jesus Christ died in shame the worst way possible by the way of the cross:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
And Jesus is intimately aware of any shame present in our lives.
The Pain of Shame
Let me detract here. This blogger has remarked previously that this blog is intended to be angled from the third-person perspective. The intention of the blog is to not be “about me”.
But, let’s digress here. I will humble myself for the benefit of whoever might come across this blog post and be helped and be healed. The subject of this post is heart-felt. I know personally what shame is all about.
In fact, I have suffered under the weight of shame most of my life, specifically for the past 45 years. That is a long time to live in pain.
You might ask: Forty-five years of what? Time, space and the venue constrict unfolding all the details. But, basically forty-five years of sinful acts and habits or feeling guilt about those past habits, forty-five years of destructive thought patterns (the Bible defines them as ‘strongholds’), forty-five years of living with a conscience defiled by shame.
But, let me tell you God has healed me. It was a process that started five years ago.
Who healed me? The power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost) healed me. How? Through the prayers of His people. I could not do it by myself. If I could it would have happened sooner.
It is a process. A process where His body, the body of Christ, plays the pivotal role. The natural body can heal itself of things physically related, but not the things that go down deep, at the soul and spiritual level. You cannot heal yourself of spiritual wounds which includes shame. You need the church. I need the church.
No matter how ‘super spiritual’ I may think I am or how ‘super spiritual’ you may think you are, we can’t take this journey alone, this journey of being healed of shame. We desperately need each other.
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:15-16
Let me give you some sound advice. Don’t allow shame to foul the precious life God has given you. It is not God’s will. It is a waste. God loves you. He really does.
We must understand that God sees the pain of our shame. God is interested in our shame. And God is the healer of shame!
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
God is not a healer. God is the healer. God is still in the miracle-working business.
He will heal our shame if we ask him. Do you really believe that? Then why don’t you get on your knees and tell him about it and see what happens? Start the process now. Pray for the Lord to lead you to a spirit-filled body of believers who will pray for your healing.
Be healed. Live for Jesus. And be Blessed.