Five years ago, I wrote Shame – The Devil’s Sticky Tape and talked about how the enemies of the gospel like to use shame to silence us from speaking the truth. With this post, I encouraged believers, who are imperfect and have made mistakes, not to consider that as reason enough to stop standing for the truth. We are not to point to ourselves but to Christ, for all to imitate, if we want a righteous world.
Today, I’d like to talk about another way that shame gets to us, and cripples us as we try to live past our mistakes, even with grace from God. Over the years, I have had many girlfriends in my life, from my different schools, universities, NYSC, and other networks. When we were younger, before we got married and/or life happened, we used to call each other and talk, visit and encourage each other in the faith and life in general. But life happened, and we drifted, and the phone calls became few and far between.
We each have our experiences, disappointments, successes and trials. Marriages we entered did not turn out as we hoped. Broken relationships left us as single parents. Businesses we started crumbled, when people we trusted disappointed us… There are a myriad of scenarios. And now we feel like we can never live up to the standard we held and hoped for ourselves.
Shame makes it so hard to talk about the things we are going through. It isolates us from the people we need to remind us that we are just human! Actually, everyone messes up. Everybody hurts!
Along with shame is blame. It causes us to put the onus on communication on someone besides ourselves. We feel justified in not keeping in touch, because they didn’t check up on us. They didn’t care enough to ask. They judged us or left. They were too busy for us. But you don’t know what your friend has been going through either…and the lies they have been believing. These lies of shame and blame work together to keep us lonely and broken.
It’s time we get past the shame and stop throwing blame. As we accept grace from God to rise up after a fall, so we should extend grace to our brothers and sisters, who perhaps have been too self-involved to be aware that we needed them. Maybe they need us, and we can start by taking the initiative to reach out and talk.
We can say, “This is what happened to me. I’ve been in this dark place, but I’m rising up. I know we haven’t spoken in a long time, and I’m sorry for my part. I should have reached out to you sooner. How are you doing?”
This year, I reconnected with a couple of my friends that I haven’t spoken to in years. Funnily enough, their reason for staying silent was similar to mine. Shame. Fear of being judged. And blame. If they cared, they’d have called. No, don’t let the devil imprison you with his lies.
The truth will set us free from every prison.
Did we falter? There’s hope in Christ. The Bible tells us that nothing we go through in this life is unique to us (1 Cor 10:13). And God strengthens His people, that they may be a light to others. Concerning Peter, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).
It’s time we tell our stories, and move beyond them to share the lessons. It’s time we built on the lessons and change our name from Broken to Brave, as we step out boldly into the world, knowing that we deserve a place among the living, and God’s grace is sufficient to hold us up.
This is for all my brothers and sisters knocked down and ashamed. It’s time to rise, reconnect, and live for Jesus.
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