And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
1 John 2:28

Reading: Philippians 3:12-21; Psalm 44:15-16

Understanding shame is very important for your spiritual and emotional development and can even be important for your health. Did you know that? 

Shame is a powerful emotion that can cause people to feel defective, unacceptable, even damaged beyond repair. But how much do you know about shame? And is it the same as guilt? 

Shame and guilt are related but different.

  • Guilt is a feeling you get when you do something wrong. When you feel guilty about the wrong thing you did, you can take steps to make up for it and put it behind you, like confessing and receiving forgiveness for your sin. 
  • Shame is a feeling that your whole self is wrong, and it may not be related to a specific behaviour or event. Or it is related to something that has been done to you by others – as in the case of Jesus hanging naked on the cross. The shame he felt was as a result of what others did to him. 

As with Jesus’ experience on the cross, shame was thrust on him from without. That may be your experience. Maybe you had an experience where you were deeply exposed and humiliated by others. Or perhaps you are carrying more generalised shame. 

From the day you were born, you were learning to feel that you were okay or not okay, accepted or not accepted, in your world. Your self-esteem was shaped by your daily experiences of being praised or criticized, lovingly disciplined or punished, taken care of or neglected.

People who grow up in abusive environments can easily get the message that they are undeserving, inadequate, and inferior—in other words, they feel a generalised feeling of shame all the time. This is so uncomfortable that the person can over-compensate and appear to push themselves forward in a narcissistic manner. Others become super-sensitive and perceive everything as criticism, even when it isn’t. This causes them to lash out at perfectly innocent people. Needless to say, this creates a self-perpetuating cycle. 

Whatever the cause of your shame, the good news is Jesus despised his shame because he knew that it was setting you free from yours. 

Heavenly Father, how can I ever begin to thank You for Your great plan of Redemption? Jesus not only became sin for me, he also bore for me the humiliation and pain of it in ways far deeper than anything I could ever imagine. 

For the family

Continue to discuss the video you watched yesterday.