How to Battle the Lie of Shame
This week we are learning how to battle lies that every dad believes. Today we are looking at the lie of shame.
As a 12 year old I loved fire. One dry, hot summer day my dad was working in our garden. Behind the garden was a large field where I was messing around. With a metal trashcan lid, dead leaves, and a magnifying glass I was ready for action. But, underneath that trashcan lid was dead grass. After burning about ten leaves the bottom of the lid became hot enough to ignite the dead grass. It didn’t take long for wind and fire to do what they were created to do. In no time 5 large fire trucks from the city pulled up to our house. I burned the field and the firemen knew our large neighborhood was downwind. I remember wanting to find a place to hide. I felt embarrassed. I felt shame because I knew better and things escalated very quickly. Thank God no houses burned that day. My dad found me, knelt down, and hugged me. He told me he loved me and that it’s ok. He didn’t belittle me. He didn’t make me feel stupid. That day he impressed on my mind the picture of God loving me despite decisions I have made and the shame that comes with those decisions.
Before we see how to battle shame, I want to make a note on the difference between shame and guilt. Shame deals with value; “who you are.” It’s known by the feelings of embarrassment and humiliation. It makes a person doubt that he/she is even lovable. Shame is from the enemy. Guilt, on the other hand, deals with behavior. Guilt brings conviction that leads to change. It says, “You are loved but your behavior needs adjustment.” Guilt is from the Holy Spirit. This is an important distinction because it affects a person’s view of God. Do you keep love from your children because they make poor decisions? Of course not. The same is true of God. God loves you above and beyond the choices you make.
So how do you battle this lie?
• If you are experiencing guilt confess your sin to God (1 John 1:9). When God forgives you He takes the guilt from you. There may be consequences that take time to play out in your life. But, you are guiltless before God and forgiveness is yours. Embrace and enjoy it (John 8:36).
• God does not shame His children. Don’t listen to or live under the lie of shame.
• Read Romans 5:8 and 8:1. You are fully known and fully loved. This is true for every son and daughter of God.
• Tell your son your story. You may need to be general about parts of it to be age appropriate. Don’t make the focus, “Your dad made some bad decisions.” Make the focus, “God has been a perfect loving father with me.”
To this day my dad has not mentioned the field burning incident to me. He covered my mistakes with his love. Let’s do that with the little people running around our homes!
How have you battled the lie of shame?