Shame is defined as the following:
- Negative emotion: a negative emotion that combines feelings of dishonor, unworthiness, and embarrassment
- Capacity to feel unworthy: the capacity or tendency to feel shame
- State of disgrace: a state of disgrace or dishonor
Translation-Shame is bondage!
Many young adults are living with shame. We confess our sins and receive forgiveness from God, but we don’t forgive ourselves. At first, I just couldn’t understand why I would feel so much shame when I would make a mistake. Then I realized my shamefulness was only a reflection of the expectations I had placed on myself and not truly understanding what it meant for Christ to have died for my sins. I struggled with perfectionism and I never wanted to look weak in the eyes of others. This behavior was a result of abandonment and being molested as a child. I had made myself believe that those things happened to me because I was worthless and weak. Once I found what I was good at, which was school, I immersed myself in my work. It was on my journey to be perfect that I demonstrated just how imperfect I truly was. As I got older, I received knowledge of Jesus Christ and how he died for my sins. I quickly recommitted my life to Christ and turned a new leaf. Little did I know that although I was saved, I still needed to be delivered. After being molested and feeling alone, my appetite for sexual pleasure grew. I thought , “Oh, I’ll stop having sex,” but then I simply found a substitute…. pornography. It became an addiction and it polluted my mind. Every time I would go to church I would feel a sense of shame because I felt like I disappointed God. I would think to myself, “How can I do this after all the God has done for me?” Then I saw this: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) At that moment I knew my struggles were not a reflection of me as a person, but a reflection of the spirit of perversion that dwelled within me.
The enemy has been reaping havoc in the minds of young people and causing many to stray away from church. There a too few communities that they feel safe enough to retreat to when they do make a mistake. I encourage all young adults to remember these words: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Your shortcomings are not the end for you. God is a forgiving father waiting for us to simply acknowledge our wrongdoings. He never said we would not struggle or that we could do everything alone. Trust if we could, we would no longer need him. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells the Lord that he is struggling and he ask that the Lord rid him of it. In verse 9 the Lord simply replies, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” His response should be a reminder that it is by God’s grace that we are not reaping the full consequences of our actions. It is a reminder that through his grace we are able to rise overcome those things that have kept us in bondage. Allow God’s grace to consume your shame and embrace the joy that he intended for you to have!