Shame and guilt. Most likely, we have all experienced it. There is such thing as good shame and guilt, the kind that tells us not to do something that is bad for us, a conscience, if you will. And while good shame exists, I’m going to address the ugly shame and guilt that can linger for years if not treated by our Purifier.
This evening as I ran my bath I thought about purity. When I think of the word I think of something new, something just out of the packaging, unmarred, clean, fresh, a car with that new car smell. Those things are pure. While we are able to wash most things and bring them almost back to their pure status, do we ever consider purifying ourselves? Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the pain of our guilt and shame that we forget there is a way to not only bring ourselves almost back to pure status, but all the way back to pure status. We are not like the pure white snow that gets trampled and driven on, never to be clean again.
In Marilyn Hontz’s book Shame Lifter she describes toxic shame and how we can purify ourselves.
Shame likes to cover God’s truth with a wet, heavy blanket. It threatens to snuff out life. How was I going to throw back that wet, suffucating blanket? Only by believing and applying God’s truth.
In 1 John 1:9 apostle John writes “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It doesn’t say that he will think about forgiving us or he will hold a grudge against us. No. It says he will forgive us. His forgiveness is guaranteed. To feel toxic shame is to let the guilt of wrongdoing penetrate into your identity. Hontz describes it as letting the external become part of the internal. And as she said in the above quote, we can only be freed by believing and applying God’s truth.
In his book Mr. Jones Meet the Master the late Peter Marshall a Scottish preacher and former chaplain of the United States Senate references this quote from The Historic Jesus: Facts or Fancies:
Christ has suffered for our sins. He has paid the penalty for us, so that there is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. He has, with His own blood, written “Paid” across the ledgers of Heaven.
Jesus’ blood shed for the atonement of our sins is more than enough to cleanse us of our wrongdoing, no matter how big or how little. To hold onto toxic shame is to deny this fact.
To get you started freeing yourself from toxic shame listen to the promise in this song by Big Daddy Weave and meditate on the truth it tells.