Scripture of the Day:
“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Recognizing the toxicity of shame in our relationships helps us to defuse it and put boundaries in place to keep the shame out.
Here we are at the end of our exploration of shame. What a journey it has been. How have you recognized shame in your life? What’s that? Ashamed to talk about it? No, not you. Not anymore. Because shame does not have a hold on you or define you any longer.
When sin entered the world, shame did, too. Kicked out of the Garden of Eden, man began to relate to one another in a fallen manner which encompassed shame. Living this Shame Off You! life will take having the right people in our lives, so this seems a fitting place to end our 31-day journey. It is in relationships with others that we will end our discovery of the presence of shame in our lives. While shame can be formed within our own hearts, shame placed on us by other people is prolific within our culture. Recognizing the toxicity of shame in our relationships helps us to defuse it and put boundaries in place to keep the shame out.
Toxic people come in many forms. One of their common tools of choice is shame. With shame they manipulate, cast guilt our direction, control, bully us, or speak negativity into our lives. We remove shame from our lives when we remove people from our lives who bring shame on us. But first, we might have to understand why we let the toxic behavior happen in the first place.
Maybe we hold onto toxic people because we are afraid. Afraid to stand up to them. Afraid of being alone. Fear is never a great reason to remain in a relationship. Remaining in a toxic relationship of shame makes it difficult to be healthy ourselves.
Relationships often have long patterns that are not easy to break. It can feel impossible to change. But God. If we don’t try to change, we will succeed in that effort and remain stuck. Attempting to heal our relationships offers hope. Our efforts will not be in vain when we seek to honor God in them and don’t give up.
Shame begets shame. When we live in shame, we invite others to participate in our culture of shame. Give it up. Let it go. Shame off you in the name of Jesus. Even when we don’t feel we deserve to be treated better, God’s Word reminds us differently. We will need to be vigilant in getting rid of shame when it creeps into our souls so we can see clearly to remove it from our relationships, too.
Sometimes we cannot remove toxic people in our lives. Their role necessitates that they have a place in our lives. But their reach is up to us. We can be aware of their toxic behavior and learn how to remove their displaced shame off of us through God’s word and prayer.
Recognizing that we have adapted to a culture of shame helps to set us free from it. We have a role to play, too. Letting go of trying to please others and a dysfunctional response of enabling, we pave the way to healthier relationships. We are not trapped and can choose to respond to shame biblically.
Perhaps we have been toxic, ourselves. Maybe we recognize the tactics of toxic people because we have used them, too. We might need to let go of trying to control others and adopt healthier communication patterns. The best defense is to go on the offense and pray for the shame violators in our lives. Then we can pray that we will not participate in that behavior, too.
When people shame us, they most likely are not even aware of their dysfunction themselves. Praying for them and addressing the shame in humility helps us to extend the grace we need, ourselves.
We have to expose dysfunctional patterns to be able to heal. As we seek to do so in a godly manner, the LORD restores what is broken. New habits are hard, but when we are diligent to extinguish shame – not through pride or simply by dismissing it, but by honestly assessing shame through truth, grace, and humility – we are set free. Free to live shame-free.
Lord, thank You for setting us free from sin and the shame it brings. Help us to walk in victory and free others, too.