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Shame Week 1

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Shame is pervasive in our lives. How does the Gospel shape this?

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Shame

For the last six weeks, we spent a good amount of time hearing from different people in our community as they shared their stories about how God has met them in the midst of their mess. Our heartbeat for the series was centered around one general idea: your discipleship to Jesus affects all every aspect of your lives.
Each of the stories was different from the last and yet so many of the questions that you guys asked were centered around one particular topic: Shame. It came up almost every week.
Here are just a handful of examples:
How do we deal with guilt from a past sin?
How do you forgive yourself for what you’ve done?
Do you find it hard to accept the fact that you are forgiven and redeemed at all?
What are some things you did to break the unhealthy patterns of shameful thinking?
What advice do you have for someone whose parents body shame them (unintentionally and/or intentionally)?
We live in a culture in which shame is pervasive and there’s not a single person in this room tonight that shame hasn’t touched or affected.
One Doctor put it like this:
“It is ubiquitous, seeping into every nook and cranny of life. It is pernicious, infesting not just our thoughts but our sensations, images, feelings and, of course, ultimately, our behavior.”
So as we get to talking about this, I think it’s important for us to define exactly what we mean when we talk about shame. It’s really easy for our definitions to get mixed up and I love the way one scholar defines it.
"Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”
So I want to be really careful here because it would be really easy to slip into a flippant belief that we aren’t flawed and we’re fine just being ourself and don’t have to worry about anything or ever striving to become more like Jesus.
As disciples, we belief that there are always things that we’re going to need to grow in and to put things to death in us.
What we’re talking about when we’re talking about shame is a deep-seated, intimate belief that you are incapable of being loved.
So our remedy to dealing with shame isn’t going to be rooted in a message that says you’re perfect and don’t need to change anything about who you are. Rather, it’s going to be rooted in the fact that we are loved sons and daughters of a good Father and were made in His image to reflect His character to the World.
So what I want to do tonight and next week is to unpack what we call a Biblical Theology of shame. What that means is that the bible has a great deal to say about who We are and what that means for our capacity to view ourselves rightly and to be loved by God.
So tonight, We’re going to talk about where shame comes from, and what it does to us, while spending time next week to talk about how we can be people who work through shame to view ourselves rightly.
So with that being said, Let’s open our Bibles and dive in to see what the Scriptures have to say about who we are.
Genesis
Genesis 1:26–28 ESV
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
So we’ve talked about this a lot, but we have to get this in our heads if we’re going to understand how shame works.
You were created good. You were to image God to creation. You were to rule with God. You were to partner with God in taking the world somewhere. This is royal language. God wanted you to rule the world with him.
So in the opening pages of Scripture, we have this beautiful picture of a man and a woman created to work and rule with God. To create culture, to build cities, to have kids. To rule.
Everything about their world was good and peaceful.
Genesis 2:15–17 ESV
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Jump down to Verse 25.
Genesis 2:25 NIV
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
So we need to stop here. The authors are doing some brilliant. What we just read in all of Chapters 1 & 2 finds its’ culmination in verse 25.
So let’s stop and imagine this for just a second. Think about all of the pressures we feel on a daily basis.
You need to be thin
You need to be smart
You need to have x amount of friends
you need to dress this way to be cool
You need to have a certain amount of money
you have to have x amount of instagram followers
If we don’t have these things, we’re considered less than. Imagine having no concept of feeling less than.
This was the world that God designed you for. That you were good and that you would feel no shame.
So I want to put the definition of shame back up on the screen.
"Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”
Imagine for a second that you would never feel or believe these things.
I even think about the term naked.
NAKED
When we think about that word in today’s culture, it makes us laugh or even cringe. I was talking to Kyle today in his office and even saying the word naked has this weird sense of don’t say that so loud.
But let’s take that farther. The word naked brings up all kinds of connotations for us. We jump to either thinking about how we’re not satisfied with how we look or we jump to images that we’ve seen while viewing pornographic websites. Even saying the word naked out loud can bring up feelings of shame and distress.
This is the first time the word naked is used in the Scriptures. There’s a practice in reading the Bible called the principle of first mention. What this principle argues is that the first time a word is used is meant to color the way we read it throughout the rest of the Bible.
So. The first two humans were naked and felt no shame.
So where does this whole idea and concept of shame come from?
Let’s keep going.
Genesis 3:1 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Ok. There are a couple of things we need to stop and see before we continue because they’re really important.
So the word crafty here sounds really similar in the original language to naked. So the word for naked is AROM. The word for crafty is ARUM. So what’s the deal there?
The author of Genesis is trying to get our attention in how the two words are going to interact together. I love the Bible! These guys were genius in how they wrote.
Ok. So crafty is the same word as naked and we’re going to see exactly how that plays out. He asks the question.
“Did God actually say, “you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”
So right away, the serpent is twisting God’s words to say something that he actually didn’t say. CRAFTY.
Genesis 3:2–4 NIV
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.
Genesis 2:2–4 ESV
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Genesis 2:
Genesis 3:2–3 ESV
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
So a couple of things to notice here. At first she does a good job of remembering what God said, but she slips a little bit at the end.
God said, you shall not eat of it, but he didn’t add the ‘neither shall you touch it piece’. She’s adding that part on her own.
Let’s keep going
Genesis 3:4-
Genesis 3:4–5 ESV
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Alright so this is a really important text that we need to spend some time with.
The serpent is hitting on some things that teach us a great deal about shame & how it operates in our lives.
The first thing we see is that after the serpent has already questioned God, he now directly contradicts what God has said.
“You will not surely die”.
“When you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.”
Here’s the thing. If we go back to , we see that they already were like God. They were made in His image.
Unfortunately, Eve chose to believe him
Genesis 3:6–7 ESV
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Genesis 3:
There’s that word again. Naked. Only this time, being naked is seen as something shameful. As a result, they sew fig-leaves together & cover their nakedness.
What once was something that was beautiful and good is now something they’re trying to run away from and cover up.
So here’s my thesis. This passage explains exactly where shame comes from & how it operates in our lives.
I think one of the things that we want to do in our lives as followers of Jesus and as it relates to shame is evaluate and the voice of shame.
There are tons of different voices that we hear all the time from our culture and so I’m not saying that these are the only three things Shame does, but I think it covers a large portion of what we feel when we’re experiencing shame.
Vs. 1. Did God actually say?
1.) Shame questions what God says.
Everything that we read in the first pages of Scripture paints God as a loving creator that wants to rule with us.
So think about this in our own lives.
Did God actually say that I have worth and value because I was made in his image?
Did God actually say that I’m good?
Can I actually be forgiven for what I’ve done?
1.) Shame questions what God says.
2.) Shame distorts the truth.
Jump down to verse 4. There’s truth in what the serpent says. Their eyes were opened, but the truth was also distorted in that they were already like God.
In our own lives, what are some ways that we distort the truth?
I would have more worth if I just looked a little different.
I would feel more secure if I just made a little bit more money.
I would feel better about myself if my life looked better on Social Media.
I know God loves me, but is he mad at me?
My life would be better if my grades were just a little bit better.
So we believe these distortions of the truth which causes us to then feel bad about who we are.
1.) Shame questions what God says.
2.) Shame distorts the truth.
1.) Shame questions what God says.
2.) Shame distorts the truth.
3.) Shame causes us to hide.
Whereas their nakedness used to be something that didn’t bring any shame, they now see this and make clothes for one another. We’ll talk about this next week more in depth, but if you read Verse 8, it says that they even hide from God.
There’s a ton here that we could say, but because of shame, we feel the need to hide our flaws.
I understand it. When we look at social media, magazines, advertisements, movies, tv shows, we’re bombarded with this picture of what it looks like to live a flourishing life.
So rather than embracing what the Scriptures say and what God has to say about our worth and our value, (i.e. numbers 1 & 2), we feel ashamed. Everybody seems to be living a perfect life and don’t seem to have any flaws and so we feel the need to put on a face and pretend that our lives are perfect.
As a result of the pressure we feel, then we retreat even more into our feelings of inadequacy and not feeling good enough. We feel like we can’t share what’s going on because we’ll be ousted by others who say, ‘ I can’t believe you did that or you feel that’.
So you guys. This is really hard. As I’ve said before, shame is something affects all of us in some capacity.
We’re gonna talk more next week about some practical tools we can use to fight shame on a daily basis as those thoughts and emotions come.
Tonight, to close I want us to sit for a moment and to allow Jesus to reframe what shame does to us.
1.) Shame questions what God says.
1.) Shame questions what God says.
Here’s what God says
God says
You are His child-
child-
You are his workmanship-
You are a new creation-
2.) Shame Distorts the Truth
Here’s the truth:
1. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. -
2. God loved the world so much he gave His son.
3. I’m going to die for you even though you’re a sinner-
3.) Shame Causes us to Hide.
Here’s what the Gospel invites us to:
Live in the light-
Confession-
Experience Community-
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