Letting shame live as a parasite

By Dave Henning / January 17, 2018

“I think that many of us are so used to letting shame live as a parasite in our place of struggle that it’s hard to imagine our lives without it.”- Ann Swindell

“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.  So God did what the law could not do.  He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.  And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving us his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.   He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us . . . “- Romans 8:3-4 (NLT)

In Chapter 6 (“When Waiting Brings You Shame”) of Still Waiting, Ann Swindell refers back to Mark’s gospel.   Mark 5 refers to the Bleeding Woman’s condition as a mastix.  A vivid term, mastix relates to the idea of “scourge” or “torment.”  Most noteworthy, biblical scholar James R. Edwards observes that the Greek term mastix “combines physical suffering and shame, hence something akin to punishment.”

Applying this to our physical, emotional, or spiritual struggles, Ms. Swindell states that shame often feels like salt in the proverbial wound.  Thus, shame adds sting and pain to our current struggle.  Ann goes on to explain:

“When you’re waiting — waiting for something to change, to go away, to get better, to heal, or to grow — and when that thing you’re waiting for doesn’t happen, shame is often willing to take its place.  Shame loves to pair itself with struggle, and it loves to make us believe that is has to stay with us in the unanswered and challenging parts of our stories.  The enemy wants us to believe that in the messy and the difficult aspect of our lives, shame is meant to be there, that it’s an emotion we have to own.”

Perhaps, Ann suggests, we find it hard to imagine others seeing us through a lens of grace.  Because we find it impossible to see ourselves through a lens of grace.

Today’s question: How have you let shame live as a parasite in your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Shame can be silenced”

About the author

Dave Henning

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