Unfortunately, stories like this one are all too common. Perhaps you can relate? Perhaps you are an adult who experienced shaming as a form of discipline. The challenge with shaming is that it can be very traumatizing and debilitating as it shapes a young mind's perspective about self, others, and the world. Shaming may cause one to view life from the disdainful eye of criticism, condemnation, and self-loathing. It may also prompt one to constantly evaluate oneself, behaviors, choices, decisions based upon the skewed lens by which life is viewed.
Negative and traumatic events, including shaming, have an impact on our lives. Experiencing shame can be disorienting as it spins our inner compass counterclockwise. We meander through life often sieving through feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, fear, anxiety, self-blame and ridicule, addictive behaviors, and perfectionism. It could be that the most debilitating component of shame is that it is shrouded in secrecy. Many carry a silent shame that resounds voluminously in the caverns of the soul; a painful echo that never abates.
Yet, there is Good News. The trauma of shame can be overcome by the power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), The Mighty Conqueror who overcame the darkness that troubles and vexes the soul. There is nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27)! He is The Omnipotent--almighty, all-powerful God who moves with lovingkindness and compassion as He ministers care to our souls.
Consider John 8:1-11. It is the account of the woman "taken in the very act of adultery". The result of her indiscretion was public condemnation on full display for judging and admonishing eyes. Can you imagine the embarrassment and humiliation she experienced? It's staggering to contemplate.
There is a lot that could be unpacked in these 11 verses found in John 8, one of them being Jesus covering this woman in her shame. It is only when we really endeavor to empathize with her shame that we can truly appreciate and marvel at the compassion of Jesus. Notice, that not even her name is not mentioned! Jesus lifted the condemnation and humiliation the woman had endured at the hand of her accusers and punishers, the scribes and the Pharisees. As she is being ridiculed, even Jesus' body language is important. He does not even look at the woman. His writing on the ground. His movements, comments, and gestures appear to take this woman's heart into consideration. His compassionate words and actions toward her lifted the shame. We see Him clothing her with garments of salvation covering her with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Can you imagine the freedom she felt as she walked away?
If you are quietly battling with the effects of shame, may I encourage you with the word of God? Never underestimate the power of Jesus to heal our broken hearts and bind/mend the wounds of our soul (Psalm 147:3). The level of compassion that Jesus demonstrated toward this woman is the same level of compassion that has been afforded to each of us.
Father, in the name of the name of Jesus, I confess that I have been enduring secret shame that has negatively impacted me in so many areas of my life. I believe that you are my strength and help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). I pray that you would remove the burden and weight shame as you did for the woman caught in the very act of adultery. I thank you for your compassion and care. I thank you that you clothe me with garments of salvation and cover me with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Thank you for making all things new (Isaiah 43:19). Thank you for healing my broken heart and mending the wounds of my soul (Psalm 147:3). Amen.