Summary: Shame is a powerful negative emotion, more painful than guilt. See how Jesus takes away shame
I love the words of Apostle Paul to the Philippians, where he says "But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of Jesus Christ."
Looking forward to pressing into more of what the Lord has for us and seeing that wave of the Spirit that is on its way hitting our shores. Are you ready?
It's often also good to look back with a sense of gratitude, thanking God for what He has done in and through you.
But for many look back over last year or years with a sense of shame for what you have done, not done, or had done to you. You know you are forgiven but you carry shame for sin.
Shame and Guilt very different
Both negative emotions
Guilt is about the sin itself that you did. Shame is about the fact that YOU did it.
Shame is generally more painful than guilt
Guilt leads to tension, remorse and regret, where as shame makes you feel small, worthless and powerless.
Guilt leads to confession, apologising and repairing, whereas Shame usually leads to more hurtful behaviour like hiding, escaping and shrinking back.
Folks that get caught in a pattern of sin that makes them feel ashamed are too ashamed to deal with it, so often stay stuck.
Let's see how it works in Gen 2:25-3:10
Start in the honour of God's presence
No shame, no fear, enjoying creation
Satan challenges God's honour by questioning His integrity and Word
Appeals to their pride - "You will be like God"
Wanted more honour - to be more like God
So they ate of the tree - disobeyed God by dishonouring Him.
Self aware of nakedness led to shame which lead to fear and hiding from God.
So they made garments of fig leaves to cover their shame and nakedness. They hid from God and ran away from intimacy and love toward isolation and death, propelled by shame. They were so scared of being found out they hid from God. Often people filled with shame can't look you in the eye.
So often that Gen 3 pattern of sin-defilement-shame-hiding pattern continues today in four different ways people play out their lives.
Rom 1:18 tells us we often suppress the truth of what we have done.
(Fig leaf illustrations from Mark Driscoll's Death by Love)
First fig leaf is worn by the "good girl"
She is pleasant, successful and dependable - like a lake with no waves. She rarely gets angry, always apologises whether or not it is her fault and seeks to serve others and keep them happy at the cost of her own well-being. But she s essentially dead, devoid of passion, always smiling, being good and trying to convince everyone she is fine when really she is broken and devastated.
Second fig leaf is worn by the tough girl.
She has been hurt and so she projects to the world her confidence, anger and roughness so that no one will have the courage to hurt her again. She'll be respected by many, but loved and known by few. She craves intimacy and love, but is so afraid of being hurt that she develops a hard shell around her that repels. She's achieved the goal of not being hurt again, but is left alone and desperately lonely.
Third fig leaf is worn by the party girl.
The party girl is the life of the party, the centre of attention, fun to be with and prone to self medicate with alcohol, food and even drugs. She has learned to mask her pain with laughter and is adept at making fun of even the most horrifying parts of her life. Thus when she reveals to others who she truly is, she does it in a way that makes everyone laugh and not see the pain she suffers. She'll turn anger into sarcasm and irony - which is violence by comedy. She's always in a crowd, but syoll lonely - the parties and being surrounded by people are an illusion.
The fourth fig leaf is worn by the church girl
She hides behind religious piety, ministry and systematic theology. She reads books and learns, not for her healing, but to help others. She pours herself out to help others because it enables her to feel sorrow and grief vicariously while avoiding her own pain. She can be harsh, judgemental and moralistic. She'll turn every conversation into an opportunity to judge, argue fine points of theology unnecessarily or spiritualise everything complete with Bible verses which are used as little more than a diversion from matters of the heart.
More obvious in Eastern honour/shame cultures - where a Muslim may kill a family member in a so called honour killing because they have brought shame on their family through their behaviour.