Christian Living


Family Matters 04/19/18

Shame Keeps Us Stuck

Woman ashamed

Jennifer was keeping something important from her husband. She was ashamed of something she had done, and the guilt was eating away at her peace. She knew she had to tell her husband because it was affecting their intimacy. But, wasn't it easier to keep the secret to herself and hope he never found out?

Shame keeps us hiding. Do you have a secret that may be impacting your intimacy with someone you love?

Most of us keep one fact or piece of information about ourselves from others. One reason for this is that secrets often involve shame. For example, when a secret involves infidelity, a teen pregnancy, an addiction or maybe a financial problem, we don't like to admit to our wrongdoings and may also want to protect someone. But when the secret affects your relationship in a negative way and is gnawing at you because of shame, it may be time to bring that secret out of that hidden place.

The problem with keeping a secret is that the one who keeps it is often stressed by it. And that stress does a number on the body. Secrets also block your ability to build true intimacy. They clutter your psychological landscape and interfere with building trust and intimacy in relationships. So, if you are ready to unload a secret that is contributing to feelings of shame, what is the best approach?

Even though it might be easier to hint at a problem or be indirect, don't go the indirect route. Don't tell a third party or create a hypothetical case. Instead, stay calm, pray, and ask God to give you courage. Begin by telling the person why you need to talk about this. Explain your motivation. Hopefully, it is based on building an honest relationship. For example, "I don't want you to find out this from someone else," or "If I don't tell you now, you might be more hurt later."

Then, be direct. If the secret involves sin, wrongdoing, or bad judgment, confess and ask for forgiveness. Talk about your plan to repair the problem and offer solutions. If the secret is really difficult, you may want to go to a therapist and work through it with a third party.

Shame serves no good purpose and keeps us stuck if we allow it to rule our lives.

God doesn't shame you. He wants you to feel conviction for sin, but not live in shame. If confession and repentance are needed, do both, but remember, Christ died to take away your shame. Nothing you have done will cause God to reject or abandon you. He loves you unconditionally and removes your sin once confessed. Shame is not on you, so don't buy the lie! Let it go!

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