In Marching Around Jericho, Lynn states one of the components of knowing our identity in Christ is to reject the enemy's lies and embrace Sonship. (Pg. 72)
Gather around today while I tell you some true stories of people I have met who were overcome with one of the most crippling lies of the enemy that resulted in their loss of identity.
Sue was 21 when I met her. She had had two abortions at the age of 15 and 16. How heartbreaking it was to hear her say, “I am so ashamed of myself. God will never forgive me.”
Ashley was 50 when I met her. She had a birth defect that left her walking with a limp. Kids had teased her at school, and even shoe salesmen made cruel remarks about her deformed feet. Ashley said: “I hate the way I look.”
Beth was 55 when I met her. A teacher she had in fifth grade repeatedly told her that she would never amount to anything. “You are a bad little girl, you should be ashamed of yourself!” Beth concluded, "You know I still feel ashamed of myself and feel I can't do anything worthwhile."
Cynthia was 70 when I met her. Her father had physically abused the whole family. Her brother became an alcoholic and spent years in prison. After Cynthia married, and made new friends in another city, every time people she worked with began talking about their families, she would leave the room. One day, a co-worker told her that she had never heard her mention her birth family. Cynthia said to me, “I don’t want anyone to know about the kind of family I had growing up.”
Different stories, but they all had one thing in common - they felt shame: shame from past failures, their appearance, believing labels others had placed on them, taking on the shame of family members.
Unfortunately, these ladies were basing their self-worth on the lie that says: “I am what I am, I cannot change. I am hopeless.”
But praise God, there is a solution. Using those 4 stories, let’s examine a solution for getting past shame.
1. Accept Jesus Christ as our Savior: When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are free from our past no matter what that past includes. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west; doesn’t remember our sins anymore; clothes us in His Righteousness, and sees us as He sees His son, Jesus. (Psalm 103:12) (Hebrews 10:17) (11 Cor. 5:21) (John 17:23)
Regeneration has taken place!! Born Again! Old things have passed away, BEHOLD, all things are new. Think of the Apostle Paul who persecuted and killed Christians. And yet after his new birth in Christ, He wrote half of the New Testament. It must not have mattered to God what Paul’s past was to give him that privilege.
2. Forgive yourself. If you still feel the pain of shame, forgive yourself.
3. See yourself as God sees you. (see list below)
1. Deformity: If our appearance includes some type of deformity that others make fun of, the only solution is to forgive them, and rise above their ignorance.
2. If our appearance is one of, “I don’t like the way I look,” do not argue withy our creator; He didn’t make a mistake. He fashioned each of us to be physically distinct from one another through our unique personality and appearance. (Psalm 139) Obviously, we should work on our appearance in terms of being physically fit for our health.
3. See yourself as God sees you.
Labels Placed on You
1. F0rgive them for they know not what they are saying. Luke 23:34
2. Remember the story of Moses who said he could not lead because he was slow of speech? The rest is history.
3. See yourself as God sees you.
Taking on the Shame of Others
1. When a child grows up in a dysfunctional family (and don’t we all to some extent) he has the tendency to follow the same path, or be ashamed of his family of origin and want to hide it. Two things to remember: (1) You are not responsible for the sins of others. (2) Isaiah 54:4 says, Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth.
2. See yourself as God sees you.
You probably noticed that each of those solutions had a common thread: forgiveness and see yourself as God sees you.
Much could be on written on each of these two principles, but space doesn’t permit. However, I would like to get your started on a list of how God sees you. Print out the list below and hang it on your refrigerator.
Then, if you are ever harassed again with the lie of shame, take my grandson Zach’s advice and, “Kick the old devil in his booty.”
Do you have feelings of shame? Let’s talk in the comments.
- I am the salt of the earth: Matt 5:13
- I am the light of the world: Matt. 5:14
- I am loved of God: Rom. 1:7
- I am no longer under condemnation: Rom. 8:1
- I am a joint heir with Jesus: Roman. 8:17
- I am more than a conqueror: Rom. 8:37
- I am a new creation: 2 Cor. 5:17
- I am redeemed: Eph. 1:7
- I am His workmanship: Eph. 2:10
- I am complete in Him. Col. 3:12