By Gena Barnhill @BarnhillGena
Have you met people who continually apologize? This incessant apologizing can give the impression the person is feeling unworthy or even embarrassed for merely existing. Or perhaps you have met people who appear bossy and would not think of apologizing for anything. Instead, they try to control the people and situations around them. The spirit of shame may be operating in each of these people.
Shame entered the world in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame by hiding and covering their bodies when God came to them after they ate the apple from the forbidden tree. We see the same pattern of covering and hiding today to protect our shame from being revealed.
When we feel shame, we may blame others or ourselves for our behavior. Often the spirit of shame works with the spirits of fear and control. Because we feel ashamed, unprotected, and vulnerable, we fear our shame will be exposed. If our shame is uncovered, we risk others not liking us. We then try to cover our shame and fear by controlling the situation and those around us so that our shame will not be exposed. This is exhausting! I have been there.How Does the Spirit of Shame Affect Us? The A-B-C Series on Ancestral Influences #shame #healing #prayer Click To Tweet
Abandonment can trigger shame. When we feel abandoned, we believe the lie we have no value, or we are a mistake or flawed. The spirit of shame is the enemy’s tool to separate us from our true identity in the Lord.
Our sins and the sins of others can lead to shame and fear that God and others may abandon us. There is nothing to be ashamed of if all our mistakes and sins are forgiven once we confess them. (See 1 John 1:9.) We can be free of our shame. If shame persists after we have confessed our sin, we need to ask ourselves why we are holding on to it when the Lord has already forgiven us. I was at that place, too.
During our prison ministry, I told the men during worship services that the Lord was not keeping a rap sheet on their sins once their identity was in Christ and they had confessed their sins. Psalm 103:12 says, as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Then, during quiet time alone with the Lord at my home, I sensed Him gently whisper, “What about you, daughter? Why do you hold on to shame over things I already forgave?”
During that encounter with the Lord, I finally understood holding on to my shame was in effect saying what Jesus did on the cross for me was not enough. That thought horrified me. Jesus gave us the ultimate sacrifice when He died on the cross for our sins. If the Lord of the universe forgave me and washed me clean, and I know He did, what right did I have holding on to shame? My heart had finally accepted this powerful truth.
Shame can originate from interactions within the family, people in authority, society, and even the church. People may make shaming statements. When I grew up, I saw family members saying to their children, “Shame on you” and “Shame, shame,” as they rubbed one index finger over another. Shaming comments could include: “Why can’t you be more like your older sister?” or “Why are you so stupid?”
The spirit of shame attacks a person’s identity. Instead of thinking I made a mistake, the shame-based person believes I am a mistake. They have embraced a false identity and agreed with the enemy’s lies. These lies, such as the belief God cannot forgive them, could be put into their minds by the enemy or by others. They come to expect failure and more shame. Instead, our identity needs to be rooted in Jesus. We have heard prayer recipients say:
I would love for you to have an opportunity to chime in. What thoughts do you have regarding the impact of shame? What evidence of shame have you seen in family lineages?
Be sure to share your thoughts in our Facebook Group Healing Prayer Discussion.
We are all stronger when we learn from each other. Looking forward to your input.