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Turn to God to heal from shame

September 13, 2008|By KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN

Have you been shamed in your life? Shame is a unique emotion. It goes beyond embarrassment and permeates our very soul in a destructive manner. Some of us were shamed as children. Perhaps it was constant by a verbally abusive parent, or perchance it was a one-time incident with a teacher or some other authoritative figure.

As a therapist, I listen to stories of people who have been shamed. Even a solitary incident can root itself into our spirits and change the way we view ourselves and those around us. Our self-esteem can be built upon a life of praise or a life of shame. It affects how we interact with the world.

Shame is a heartbreaking emotion. It not only harms its victim but causes damage beyond the monetary as well. It can be likened to a weed that is rooted into our psyches. It may get cut off at the surface, but if it is not uprooted and healed, its victim falls prey to it springing up over and over again in their lives. It affects our careers, friendships and deep interpersonal relationships.

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How does one heal from shame? Well in any healing, acknowledging the offense is the first step. Recognizing that it was a wrong done against you can start the healing process.

I have seen individuals so shamed in their life that although they have a gentle exterior, they may have a secret habit done in private that seems filthy to them. But they have used these habits for self-comfort, are shamed again; and so the cycle continues.

Whom can we turn to to heal our shame? Of course, therapy is an option. God often uses the tools of therapy to heal. But along with that we have to have someone we can trust — because we cannot trust those who have shamed us. Scripture tells us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11, The Holy Bible, New International Version).

The prophet Joel tells us, “You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed” (Joel 2:26-27).

God is our refuge. God never shames us. Even when we sin, we may feel initial shame due to the conviction we have over our offense — guilt and conviction lead us to repentance.

But God never shames us and tells us how stupid or bad we are. He loves us with a tender love. As a mother cradles a newborn baby and looks adoringly upon its face, so our Lord loves us.

His desire is that we be healed from wrongful shame in our lives and that we live in freedom and joy. And He is always there for us to listen to our prayers for healing, to comfort us along the path, and to answer those prayers.

We have only to begin the voyage of the healing of our shame by asking Him to join with us on our journey.


 The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN can be reached by e-mail at holyhouse9@ gmail.com or by mail at Holy House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107.

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