Shame disguises itself

By Dave Henning / January 19, 2024

“Shame rarely shows up on the surface.  It’s one of those hidden secrets in our soul, something we carry behind our masks, an unchecked spiritual and emotional wound that seems to scar us for life. . . .  Shame disguises itself as your true self, but it isn’t.  It feels like it’s rooted in who you are, but is usually rooted in something you’ve done or has been done to you.”- Chip Ingram

In Chapter 7 (“The Lie of Shame”) of Discover Your True Self, Chip Ingram talks about the debilitating power of shame.  Yet, no matter how much other people — even the church — try to shame you, God never does.  Instead, as Chips theology professor Bill Lawrence once stated, “you are a trophy of God’s grace.”

However, Pastor Ingram notes, even if you now walk with God, it’s possible for some event to trigger past shame.  As a result, that shame wells up within you and bubbles to the surface.  Thus, a part of you feels unlovable.  A sense of punishment pervades your spirit.  Above all, shame masquerades like unpardonable sin.

Therefore, Chip reiterates the theological thesis he presented in Chapter 1.  That the most important thing about you centers on how you see God.  And the second most important thing about you involves what comes to mind when you think about yourself.

Consequently, shame creates some of the most distorting effects on your identity.  Perhaps the most devastating of the fears and feelings that warp your perspective.

In conclusion, Chip defines shame as a painful feeling of regret, self-hatred, and dishonor.  Furthermore, in her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown describes shame as the “painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

So, while a person who struggles with guilt believes he/she did acted badly, shame produces a different belief.  That the person is bad.  Shame, then, attacks your identity.  Rather than your behavior.

Today’s question: How do you feel shame disguises itself in your life?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the January Short Meditation, “With Amazon efficiency?”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Only redeeming aspect of shame”

About the author

Dave Henning

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