What’s Shame Got to Do With It?

Shame is, without a doubt, one of the biggest roadblocks in sexual addiction recovery.

There is a constructive shame. It’s OK to feel ashamed when you keep doing the same things time and time again, even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t. It’s OK to feel bad about cover-ups and lies. It’s OK to feel remorse about not acting like the kind of Christian you yearn to be.

Feeling ashamed is the right response to our wrong attitudes and inappropriate behaviors. It is what leads us to repentance and healing. But there is another kind of shame—a toxic shame—that fights against us, and keeps us hiding, defeated and stuck.

True shame says “I DID something wrong.” It convinces us that we need to take whatever steps are necessary to change our destructive BEHAVIORS. Toxic shame, however, is a completely different thing. It goes beyond simply convicting us of sin and convinces us that “I AM flawed, There is something wrong with ME, I AM uniquely sinful, and there is no hope for me.”

Toxic shame gets in the way of us facing the truth—an essential component in recovery. It tells us that we dare not acknowledge our struggle or we will be branded as unacceptable. It’s what makes churches insist “we don’t have THAT problem here”; it’s what causes strugglers to tell themselves “it’s no big deal. I can stop anytime. I don’t need to tell anyone”; and keeps wives that are humiliated by their husband’s actions from daring to reach out for the support and comfort they desperately need.

The enemy delights in keeping us isolated and stuck. Spreading toxic shame is one of his most successful strategies for accomplishing his purposes.

Jesus told a group of Jews in John 8 that, if they would follow his teaching they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. Jesus was talking about more than just SPEAKING words of truth in this passage. He was talking about LIVING truth.

He said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” He was referring to us realizing that we are powerless to overcome our own sins. It is only as we delve into the truth about what JESUS did for us, feels for us and desires for us that we can learn to trust him enough to allow him to remove the toxic shame and free us from the things that have taken us captive and stolen our life.

“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” —2 Corinthians 4:2

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field