What is shame? Brené Brown says shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”
This kind of shame is a tool of evil, a weapon of the enemy, that creates separation and estrangement from God and others. Through his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and giving of his Spirit, Jesus resolves and heals our shame as part of delivering us from the power of death.
We are committed to leading and loving in such a way at The Table to disempower shame as a governing power in our common life and relationships.
Here are some resources I’ve found helpful that deal with shame. What would you add to this list?
- Families where Grace is in Place, by Jeff VanVonderen – An insightful look at how parenting either reinforces or helps defeat the lie of shame. Priceless book; one of the best on parenting and shame I’ve ever read.
- The Soul of Shame, by Curt Thompson – A biblical and clinical look at shame.
- Daring Greatly, Rising Strong and “Listening to Shame“, by Brené Brown – A researcher who has spent over a decade learning about shame and dealing with her own shame, Brené became a Christian in large part because of what she discovered.
- Resisting the Temptation to Moral Formation, by John Coe – This brief article gives a grounding in spiritual formation to understand the work and damage shame does in the Christian life.
- Surrender to Love and The Gift of Being Yourself, by David Benner – These books were life changing for me, helping me understand how to consent to God’s love for the healing of my shame.
Here’s to Christ being King in our shame, to love conquering everything untrue in us, and to a holistic embrace of all that we are under the redemption of Jesus Christ.
David Stravers says
Slight revision. Shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that OTHERS view us as flawed and therefore unworthy of love or belonging…” This distinguishes shame from guilt.
Matt Tebbe says
Hey David – Thanks for your engagement! I’m actually including your definition in how I think about shame…but also…seeing shame as how we self-identify. It’s the story we tell ourselves about who we are that interferes with or disagrees with our ID in Christ.
I see guilt as having to do with “what I’ve done” in distinction to shame as “who I am”. I think there’s healthy guilt (“I’ve done wrong”) but I’m not sure there is healthy shame…
Make sense? How do you see them differently?