Destroy Shame’s Village of Feeling Bad
How did I ever end up living in the village of Feeling Bad? Let's find out and figure out how to move.
Destroy Shame’s Village of Feeling Bad
If you caught the teaching concerning pulling down strongholds you have been introduced to the village of Feeling Bad and the village of Feeling Good. It is a safe assumption to believe people want to live in the village of Feeling Good. Living in Feeling Good, all is well in your world, the future is full of hope, and you’re successfully navigating the path of life you’ve chosen. In the village of Feeling Good, there is lots of laughter, great personal relationships, rewarding work, and sanctuary. You are overcoming the challenges this world throws at you, everyone has problems and with God’s grace, you are solving them. You’ve overcome problems in the past, you’re enjoying the present, and are looking forward to an even better tomorrow (Revelation 21: 1-7). Are you ready to move?
If you recall the teaching about habits, attachments, and addictions they consist of the pathways that we have created to get to Feeling Good. When those pathways are inconsistent with discipleship, to travel them is to sin. Sin is an action and a disposition, the things that we do, and the things that we think are not in keeping with our Lord’s command to be lovers (Matthew 15:8). One of humanity’s greatest problems is that we have the tendency to seek Feeling Good apart from God (Proverbs 14:12). We often define what living in Feeling Good is like using the values of the World. The scripture warns us about our infatuation with the Feeling Goods of the World: they are always fleeting.
1 John 2:15 (NIV)
Do not love the world or anything in the world.
When you ask why, the sacred text answers:
1 John 2:16-17 (NIV)
For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away…
When we seek out a Feeling Good apart from the Father, we’re off on the wrong path, it always leads to sin. What I want you to see is that “the world passes away.” Today don’t think the big cosmic end of the world apocalypse. Instead consider this is why when you’ve traveled from the village of Feeling Bad to the village of Feeling Good, you wake back up in Feeling Bad. It’s because Feeling Good passes away. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, that village of Feeling Good becomes a prison and as soon as you’re Feeling Bad it’s no longer a path, or a street, or a highway back, it’s just a step. Eventually, that village of Feeling Good becomes very, very, bad.
If you’re trapped in behaviors inconsistent with discipleship, in the message Pulling Down Strongholds you have a plan that I encourage you to get working right now. God wants you free to travel paths of righteousness to His Kingdom.
This desire to travel from Feeling Bad to Feeling Good makes a person wonder, “how did I end up in Feeling Bad anyway?”
One answer out of many that apply to all of us is shame. In the next few minutes, we are going to define shame, see where shame comes from, discover the various techniques we use to deal with our shame and finally how to find deliverance from our shame.
First, we need to define shame.
In previous teachings, we have differentiated between Conviction, Guilt, and Condemnation concerning sin. Shame is a darker step down from condemnation. Shame brings with it a sense of never being acceptable. Worse, Shame keeps you imprisoned in the past and that feels really bad, so you look for ways to get to Feeling Good.
Shame is an internalized disgrace and humiliation, which acts as an aggressive prosecuting attorney constantly building a case against you to prove to the whole world that you’re no good. Not only do you become convinced about the case against you, you are certain that the jury of your peers do also.
We have learned that conviction is an invitation to transformation, not so with shame.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Shame brings death. Shame kills relationships. Everything rises and falls on relationships. When relationships fall you are in the village of Feeling Bad. In fact, with Shame you never find the village of feeling Good, you’re always living in the village of Feeling Bad.
Secondly, we are wise to figure out where shame comes from.
We don’t have to read far into the Holy Bible to discover where shame comes from.
Genesis 3:6 (NIV)
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
What follows is hiding, covering, and blaming. Four fundamental human relationships were ripped apart through sin, creating the base from which all shame operates so that to this very day every human being is born estranged to God, to Others, to Self, and to the Earth. (Patricia Lee Hulsey The Shackles Of Shame http://www.eomtc.com/harvest/Shattering%20Shame/ShatteringShame.htm )
In Shame the Adam and the Eve cover themselves. Once an open and unhindered relationship, seeing into each other’s soul, now has a wall blocking the other out.
In Shame the Adam and the Eve hide. They don’t want God to see them. Once a relationship of reciprocal love now has shame and a broken heart hindering intimacy.
In Shame the Adam refuses responsibility undermining his very self and blames his wife. Eve, thrown under the bus, blames the serpent. The serpent doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
In Shame the Adam and the Eve are expelled from the village of Feeling Good.
It’s important to know that the act of covering up, hiding is the way we try to deal with Shame.
The Genesis account of the Garden helps us to generally understand how shame is involved in the human predicament. It’s sin’s child. As with any demonic child, it grows.
We need to move east of Eden to see how this demonic Child of Shame has grown and spread its roots into human culture. There are four areas in our lives out of which Shame manifests.
Most deceptive is Incessant shame, this is intergenerational sin passed down to us from our previous generations (Numbers 14:18). If you look at your family history, if you even were allowed to gain knowledge of your ancestors, there can be traced patterns that seem to repeat over and over again. One example is Grandpa was a workaholic, Dad was an alcoholic, me I serve people, in a job that eats up 60 to 80 hours a week because the need is so great. My son, what a junk food junky, loves his sugar. What’s hiding behind the work schedule, the bottle, the sugar which by the way often leads to excessive drinking later in life? There is a family’s secret which is incessant shame behind the behaviors.
The next source of shame we’ve been hearing a lot about in the media. We can call it Institutional shame. “You may be shamed because of the color of your skin, your family background, or the city or nation in which you live,” your sexual preferences, your political views, the places you have to shop, the kind of car you drive. (Patricia Lee Hulsey The Shackles Of Shame http://www.eomtc.com/harvest/Shattering%20Shame/ShatteringShame.htm) There is nothing you did except being in the minority, worse just not in fashion. It seems to me that I am supposed to be ashamed of the fact that I am a privileged white male and worse, a Christian.
Then there is Imposed shame. Two major places where imposed shame infects us: a dysfunctional family and our Peers. There are so many ways we can be shamed as we grow up, too many to explore this morning. This sort of shame comes from feeling unloved, being the family scapegoat, feeling the continuing disapproval of parents and those of your peers who mock you, putting you down, excluding you from the “in-group.” (Patricia Lee Hulsey The Shackles Of Shame).
Finally, there is Individual shame that results from sins you have personally committed (Psalm 44:15). (Patricia Lee Hulsey The Shackles Of Shame ). We have previously discussed how to confront the legitimate shame in the teachings A Sinner Such as I and in Pulling Down Strongholds.
Shame has got you living in the village of Feeling Bad. So you strike out on paths of your own making to get to Feeling Good. But the deviousness of Shame is that you never get to leave the village of Feeling Bad, you never get to Feeling Good.
Thirdly, let's survey the various paths people use to cover up and hide their shame. Since there are a lot of ways people choose to hide their shame I am going to just pick my favorite and allow you to familiarize yourself with the other nine or so strategies people use to get out of Feeling Bad and into Feeling Good. You’ll find a list with a brief explanation in your bulletin, in the live stream comments, and on-line at www.hbcc.life.
The trap I fell into in my attempt to get out of Feeling Bad was perfectionism. It took a heart attack for me to come to a realization that the path of perfectionism does not heal the pain of shame.
Shame convinced me that I was inferior, unacceptable, and unwanted. So I decided if I was good enough I would be wanted. I set out to prove to the world that I was all that and a bag of chips. I was sure if I would prove my worth through attainment and success people would accept me, want me, and love me. This is what I discovered as I laid in cardiac intensive care: that no matter what I accomplished or what level of success I attained, I could not ever measure up to the standards I had set for myself. What’s worse is that as a disciple of Jesus the Holy Spirit revealed to me everything I was accomplishing was really about me and not about building the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that this was a subtle evil of egoism, to get me promoting the Kingdom and the cause of Christ, all the while actually being motivated by achieving my own agenda of being loved and accepted, wanted and sought after.
If you dare, read through that list of 10 other common ways people try to deal with their shame. The reason I encourage you to do so is that knowing the path you have chosen to deal with your Shame, will help you discover the source. Then you can drag it into God’s light and find healing.
Finally today, you need to know how to destroy this village of Feeling Bad that shame is holding you, prisoner.
The way you destroy Shames village involves allowing the truth God says about you to exorcise the demons of shame and let God’s people love you.
Toxic thoughts keep you trapped in the village of Feeling Bad. Toxic thoughts are the lies you have believed about yourself and keep hearing over and over again in the circumstances and situations of life, cruel echoes of rejection, of not being good enough, of being stupid, inept, a loser. Thoughts like these are shaming and we do our best to cover them up. Dear Disciple, they are all lies!
God has spoken the truth about you. You will find in your bulletin yet another take-home sheet that contains scripture references that reveal who God says you are. The way you destroy toxic thoughts is to replace them with God’s truth. Read through the list, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to that particular verse or verses that expose your toxic thought and then to replace that thought with God’s truth about you. There is a process in all of this, it will take time, be diligent, practice the spiritual discipline of contemplation and the transformation will occur. You may need help, if you find you do, please talk with me.
The second part of destroying the toxic thoughts of shame is to let God’s people love you. I know it’s scary and at first, it’s impossible to believe that God wants to prove those things He has proclaimed about you through the love of other people. It is in the fellowship of other disciples that you get to experience His love in the flesh, eventually what God has said about you becomes your truth.
I have prayed that the Holy Spirit would use this teaching to set your heart on a quest to destroy toxic shame in your life. May God’s truth sets you free of the village of feeling Bad and God’s grace empowers you to do the work that makes that freedom your living reality.
Patricia Lee Hulsey, The Shackles Of Shame
Shame-based reactions are implemented to avoid dealing with the root issue of shame. Here are some common shame-based reactions:
SCAPEGOATING: Blame is a cover up for shame and a way to pass it on to others. You reduce your own feelings of shame by putting down and criticizing someone else. "Psychologically, putting guilt on someone else allows us the opportunity to hate or blame that individual, thus discharging our emotions while our rational faculties justify it.
SELF-PUNISHMENT: There is a long history of people who mutilated their bodies or in other ways punished themselves to atone for their shame. In its more subtle forms, such self-punishment is the voice of shame saying, "You don't deserve to be happy."
DEFENSIVENESS: Defensive people are extremely sensitive to criticism or the suggestion of personal blame, they are argumentative, and always must be right. Shame-based people interpret criticism of what they do into a judgment of who they are. They confuse their do and who. "Our shame defenses keep us from showing ourselves to anyone else. More tragically, these defenses keep us from looking at ourselves."
PATRONIZING: Patronizing is a very subtle way of deferring your shame. On the surface, you seem to help another person by support and encouragement, but in reality you have a condescending attitude which defers your own shame by shaming them.
CONTROLLING: A shame-based person attempts to control other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions to insure that no one can ever shame him again. In many families this control results in suppression of true feelings. There is no honest feedback, emotional growth is hindered, and shame is further perpetrated.
ARROGANT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: Arrogance is a psychological cover up for shame. The arrogant, self-righteous person hides his true self from others and in so doing, hides from himself.
ADDICTIONS: The content of the addiction, whether it be an ingestive addiction or an activity addiction (like work, buying, or gambling) is an attempt at an intimate relationship...Each addictive acting out creates life-damaging consequences which create more shame. The new shame fuels the cycle of addiction.
AGGRESSION: Because a shame-based person does not value himself, he lacks respect for others. This leads to contempt, anger, retaliation, and rage. If a person with internalized aggression also acquires power, then it results in violence and criminal behavior.
ALIENATION AND DISASSOCIATION: A shame-based person sometimes will alienate himself by self-imposed isolation. Such behavior may be disguised by explanations such as "I am very reserved" or "I am a private person." In reality, the withdrawal is an attempt to conceal shame. In its ultimate form, such alienation results in living life as a recluse from society.
RITUAL: In New Testament times the Pharisees and Sadducees learned they could not keep the law of God themselves, so they became self-righteous, demanding, critical leaders. They formulated hundreds of detailed rules which they tacked on to their religion.
Don’t forget about perfectionism that is highlighted in the teaching.
Who I Am in Christ is the work of Dr. Neil Anderson. You can find more in his book Living Free In Christ