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“One of my teachers made a comment about me in class and since then I have thought I was dumb; school just isn’t for me.”
“When I was in third grade, I made my first speech. I was so nervous that I began to stutter. I felt so ashamed that I avoid public speaking.”
The comments above have something in common. They both describe the affect of shame. Shame is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Shame hurts our self-image and often leaves one feeling like “there is something wrong with me.”
Because of the shame we may experience, we often cover up and hide our issues, disconnecting from others and sometimes even God. An example of this is discussed in Genesis chapter 3 when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.
Genesis 3:7-8 says when Adam and Eve had sinned, their eyes were opened realizing they were naked and they did two things: 1) they made covers for themselves out of fig leaves and 2) they hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden.
We see here that Adam and Eve covered up their shame and hid from God. Another affect of shame is that it can cause us to eliminate or reduces our participation in life. This is evident in Numbers 13 when although God had called His choose people to possess the promise land; ten of the twelve spies had a self-image that caused them to shrink as grasshoppers.
God desires to cleanse us of shame. For this to happen we must choose to partner with Him. If you are struggling in some areas of your life, I encourage you to do the following.
· Think about what you are internally avoiding or concealing because of a past event.
· Decide to run to God with those things that have injured your self-image.
· Allow God’s Word to minister to you and transform your life