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Breaking Free of Shame (4 of 6)

Mike Connell

Page 2 of 9
We saw a whole number of ways that shame entered, and one of the areas that we talked about was how some people are ashamed of the feelings they have. Many people are ashamed of their feelings. Men are often ashamed of their feelings, so to feel sad, to feel hurt, to feel uncertain, to feel anxious. Men don't want to let anyone know what they really feel, because men usually are raised in a shame culture, where for any man to admit weakness, they will be immediately mocked and belittled, so men have a fear of being exposed, the fear of being vulnerable. For a man to cry, mostly in growing up, as you're a young man growing up, if you cry, it's perceived as a sign of weakness, and you are mocked and ridiculed as a cry baby. So what message do people learn? Don't let your feelings get out, then they become ashamed of their feelings.

Right now in the season in the church, many of you are beginning to experience feelings surfacing - don't be ashamed to have feelings. God's not ashamed of your feelings, He gave them to you. He doesn't mind you having feelings. He doesn't mind you crying, laughing, weeping. He doesn't mind you being angry, upset. He's quite happy about all of your feelings, and what He wants to do is to actually engage you in what you're feeling, and to help you walk through it; but if we bury our feelings, hide our feelings, cover our feelings, then we can't actually - we've got a shame thing around our life. Many men have struggled. I've struggled in that area for years, so I took some time to break through that, to be absolutely unashamed, to weep and to laugh, and to be open about feelings, because I grew up being ashamed of what was going on in my life, and tried to conceal myself.

So shame is a terrible thing. It steals away your life, and Jesus promised we can be free, so let's go back into the steps out of it. I guess you can find many books about it. I shared with you four steps that I think actually bring us out of shame: number one, we need to come to Christ. Two of them I'm going to develop today - number one, we actually need to come into connection with Christ. You must attach to someone who carried the shame, and I'll explain that in a moment.

Number two, we need to resolve or to break the attachments we have in our life to shameful experiences or people who have shamed us. I'll explain that in a moment too; we need to break the attachments. If you are attached in your life, and I'll show you how that happens in a moment - if you are attached to shame from your past, or people have shamed you, you're still attached to it, those attachments have to be broken.

The third thing, and this is now - so we're going to deal with two today. We're going to deal today with how I actually break out of shame, then we're going to look next time round at the changes I need to make, and how firstly change my inner beliefs, what I see God like, how do I see God, and how do I see myself. You have to change how you see yourself. If you don't change what you see yourself being like, and agree with God, you can't come forth and be the new creation man He called you to be.

Finally, we need to change how we relate. By that I mean how we relate to ourself with our weaknesses, struggles, pains and feelings and so on; how we relate to others, when they try to shame us, and how we relate to others in not shaming them. So you need to learn how to recognise and to deal with those things, and that's the journey out of shame. Attach to the Lord, the shame bearer; break with the past, with the shame; begin to renew how I believe and think and see myself, and begin to change how I live my life. Getting the idea? Yeah, great stuff, okay then.

Well let's go on and have a look at the first one then. I want you to look with me in Isaiah, Chapter 50. So the first step out of shame is to embrace Christ, the shame bearer. We need to embrace Jesus Christ as our shame bearer, and I'll show you what that means in a moment. Look what it says in Isaiah, Chapter 50. It says - Verse 6: I gave My back to those who struck Me, My cheeks to those who plucked out my beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting, for the Lord will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced. I have set My face like a flint, and I know I will not be ashamed. We have to see here that Jesus personally experienced shame. He said: I did not hide from shame. He could have actually vanished. There were many instances where Jesus just moved right away from people, He fled to the wilderness, He walked through the crowd. He did not have to endure this being shamed, but the Bible tells us very clearly, He did not hide His face from it. He didn't hide His face from the shame and spitting.