Shame RX: When we really see others, we see past their shame and show them unconditional love . . . that might just set them free.
“Thank you for really seeing him, Denise.” I had no words. Only tears. The young man who had been our waiter had pink hair, mega lashes and an effeminate stance. My friend graciously greeted him and told him she loved his eyelashes. Sure, I would be friendly and gracious, but she looked for what she could praise him for. And there it was. The uncertainty in his demeanor, replaced with ease. Acceptance. A bright smile.
Later, as my friend and I prayed at the end of our meeting, he came up and said it was really nice that we were praying and that he did not see that all that often anymore. I asked if we could pray for him. “Yes, please!” was the response. And so we held hands and prayed and that prayer moved us just as much as it moved him. Sometimes we feel shame for someone else. Sometimes they feel shame and try to cover it up. Either way, shame blocks our view from seeing the real need. He wanted to be noticed. But not for the pink hair and eyelashes. The deep soul need. When we really see others, we see past their shame and show them unconditional love . . . that might just set them free. Sometimes we need to reach across the table and just offer unconditional love right where people are at. Shame vanishes in an environment like that. We might not “fix” everyone (including ourselves), but we can be a source of honor and grace in a shame-filled world. And maybe, just maybe, a soul might be set free.
If you ever feel unsure or afraid about how to reach this in the LGBT community, Check out the Black and White podcast interview this week with Caleb Kaltenbach, Author of Messy Grace, this week on how to reach the LGBT community without losing your conviction.
Need to get rid of shame in your life? Join the Shame Off You Bible Study starting March 4th. Mondays at 7pm ET.