Isaiah 50:7 (ESV)
“But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”
Inspirational Thought of the Day:
When we finally air our dirty laundry, not for any other purpose but the healing or ourselves and others, we are no longer hiding in the shadows, but are free.
Hiding our shame does not heal it. Refraining from sharing our shame to preserve our honor will never free us, either. And a funny thing about shame. When we finally air our dirty laundry, not for any other purpose but the healing or ourselves and others, we are no longer hiding in the shadows, but are free. And gratitude fills our souls. We have a Savior who bore all of our sin and shame. We don’t have to bear it anymore.
Growing up I remember hearing the phrase, “don’t air your dirty laundry”. In one sense, this principle is biblical – grace covering other’s flaws rather than exposing them. In another sense, it can become a secretive culture where sin and shame breed— the “avoidance” level of shame. But bringing personal matters into the public eye is akin to making the public the judge and jury in our lives. We feel the seemingly omnipresent feeling of being known – in a bad light – with no way to defend ourselves. Who knows who all is aware of our story? And do they know the truth? The human soul longs to be known and appreciated, maybe even celebrated, but shaming is being known and defamed. I know, because it happened to me.
Standing in the courtroom, facing the judge with my former in-laws less than a foot behind me, the stares and judgment from those accusing me made me feel like the adulterous woman must have felt surrounded by her accusers. Their piercing gaze burned a hole in my back and their cunning speech overwhelmed me with grief. My clouded brain was burdened with excessive information, and I was filled with anxiety as I walked up to the witness stand and prepared for the onslaught. I tried to grasp the intent behind their line of questioning. Constantly needing to be prepared with an answer to the deeply probing questions, I wished I could disappear. Shame stifled my breathing and asthma resurfaced with the familiar stabbing in my chest. Through the haze of dizziness, sweaty palms and skipping heartbeats, I tried to focus and set aside the shame I felt as the eyes of the courtroom were all upon me.
The pain of living with the horror of the revelation of sexual abuse in our home was debilitating. Wondering who all knew our story and what version they knew just magnified the pain. But it was an entirely different matter to be in a position of having the greatest sorrow of your life exploited in a court of law for the advantage of the one who caused all your pain. False accusations hurled at me in an attempt to gain the upper hand in a visitation lawsuit caused intense anxiety and suffering while I tried to hold on, help my children heal, and continued to home educate my children.
Shame from visitations by police and social services and the dreaded ringing of the doorbell invaded our privacy and put us all in shock. Did the neighbors see the police car pull up to our door? Then there were the never-ending appointments with counselors that sometimes inflicted even more pain. Heart-wrenching new revelations and endless tears that break a mother’s heart in the middle of the night. I tried to make the counseling appointment experience a fun one – snacks for us all while we waited for our counseling – and momma gained weight. In the myriad of court dates that filled five years of my life, I wasn’t the one on trial, but the other side attempted to utilize shame and slander to coerce and produce an outcome for their client.
This is what public shaming does. It influences the crowd in an attempt to condemn the object of shame. But in the midst of that broken place, when I cried out from the rubble of shame covering me so deeply, a still small voice reminded me that my pain and shame in the courtroom was part of a mission to protect my children. Would I serve the LORD in this place? Would I count the suffering as a blessing if I achieved the objective of honoring their wishes and protecting them? Yes. Yes, I would.
Despite my innocence, the sting of shame reached me as I felt the disdain of others believing the lies uttered. Did the truth really matter? I was shamed, either way. And so, I prayed. Right there in the middle of a deafening silence in the courtroom, I cried out to God, my Defender. Instead of despising the shame I felt so deeply, I asked Him to take it and to help me bear it. I asked Him for His perspective. I prayed for my children and begged God to grant favor. Suddenly, there in the middle of what seemed to be the worst days of my life, my obsession with the grief I felt over my suffering and shame was transformed. I did not care about the shame anymore. I realized that this place of scorn could become an altar of worship. Feeling the hatred and judgment all around me, I thought of my Savior. Didn’t He choose such a place that I wanted to avoid? Where I had previously wondered how circumstances got me to this place and why God would allow such pain and injustice, such shame . . . I only felt gratitude. Gratitude that Jesus would do that for me. That He would willingly bear my shame even though He was not guilty. He did not complain when He bore my guilt and shame. Instead, He did it with joy. Could I do the same? Could I have joy despite my reputation being smeared, my life being turned upside down? Yes. Because my life was hidden in Christ. My shame was Christ’s shame. My victories were Christ’s. To live is Christ – in the shame, pain, sorrows and joys of life – all of it – was for my Savior. If He allowed the shame in, He had a purpose that far exceeded my embarrassment. And God could receive glory from the ashes as I offered them up to Him.
***This excerpt first appeared in Shame Off You***
Why live with shame when you don’t have to? God has provided a way for us to remove shame and live in victory. Come and release your shame in Jesus’ name. Shame Off You details a biblical method for removing shame and is available at many retailers. Here are a few places you can get Shame Off You. Let me know you bought Shame Off You and receive a free bonus digital download.