Lend me your imagination for a second. Imagine that you’re in a prison. It’s cold and dark and disgusting. There are rats everywhere. The ceiling is leaking. In general, it’s about a 0/10 situation. Now imagine you have the key to the cell doors. Would you not peace out ASAP as possible?
A lot of times, shame feels like that prison. It sucks the joy out of life. It prevents us from enjoying the things that we love. But believe it or not, we have the key to overcoming shame. And that key is choice. We can choose to fall back into the quicksand of shame or we can make the choice to believe truth and escape.
Maybe it’s something that happened in your past. Maybe it’s that secret sin that nobody knows about. Maybe it’s because you can never seem to reach the expectations that have been set by yourself or others. Shame can stem from a lot of different things, but it affects every aspect of your life. It affects your work, it affects the way you interact with others, and it affects the way you view yourself. Shame is like a pair of glasses that tints everything in your life. It warps and distorts your reality into something that you don’t want to be a part of anymore.
But the good news is that in Christ, we have the key to beating shame. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Y’all. Christ has set us free. There is no reason for us not to be free. The Book says it, y’all. But oftentimes, we don’t take Christ at his word. In my own life, I often let myself wallow in shame rather than believing the truth that Christ has taken away any shame that I feel. But the super clutch thing is that if we give any shame and condemnation that we feel to the Lord, he takes it from us. Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Y’all. There is zero condemnation in Christ. So any shame you feel is not from the Lord. He desires us to live in freedom and shame prevents us from fully experiencing that freedom.
An important part of kicking shame out our lives is shining light into the dark places of our hearts. Where there is light, there can be no darkness. None. Bringing things into the light isn’t always easy. It might look like writing in a journal. It might look like saying things out loud that you’ve felt in your gut for years. It might look like being vulnerable with someone about your struggles, your secret sins, that one thing you’ve never told anybody. Shining light into darkness can be scary. It can hurt. But allowing the Lord to work in your life brings freedom like you’ve never experienced before.
There’s an incredible amount of freedom to be had if we simply believe what the Lord says. He says there’s no condemnation for those who are in him? Ok, I’m going to live my life like there’s no condemnation. Oh, Jesus says it’s for freedom that he’s set us free? Sweet, I’m gonna live in that freedom. It’s not always easy, but as long as we shine the light of Christ into our lives, we banish the darkness therein. And where there is no darkness, shame has no place to hide.