Unmasking Shame (2 of 6)

Mike Connell

Page 3 of 10
He was filled with fear, because of my condition. I was ashamed of the condition I was in, fear overwhelmed me, and so I did the only thing I thought I could do, which was to hide myself. So shame always will have with it, fear and hiding or covering over, so shame is firstly an intimacy thief. It stops me coming near to God. Secondly, it's an identity thief, it caused me to hide who I am, and cover what I'm like, so I wear a mask and you don't really know me. That in turn, because I'm wearing a mask and you don't know me, I can't be intimate with you either, and here's the dilemma. We have in church many, many people who are lonely. It's not because God isn't here. It's not because there aren't people around you, who don't love you. There are. God has come in many ways, in healing and touching and His presence in all kinds of ways, people connect in groups and whatever. Yet still in the middle of it people feel alone, and that loneliness that's in there is the consequence of shame and its work in your life.

Unless you recognise it you can never break out, because shame caused them to be afraid, and then to cover up, and unless we address that in our personal life, and learn how to change the way we see ourselves, and the way we work with people, then we're going to live in this bondage of being - or held inside this area of being alone. I know exactly what this feels like. I've worked on this considerably in myself, and I feel now God's saying come to another level, come to another level, see? Come to another level. Now there's a difference between guilt and shame. You need to be very clear about them. Guilt has a completely different message to shame. When there is guilt, the message of guilt is simply this: I did something wrong, so I sneaked up and stole those lollies. I did something wrong. I went around there and spray painted the back of the building. I did something wrong, I've broken some acceptable standard or law - guilt. Guilt means I did something wrong. It has to do with my actions or my behaviour, but shame is a different message.

Shame says to you: there's something wrong with me. There's something wrong with me. Shame has to do with your identity, who you are: somehow I am lacking, somehow I'm inferior and inadequate to the people around me. Shame is a message: something is wrong with me, I'm weird, I must be a loser or some kind of thing like that, or I don't fit. That's all shame talking, shame. Now shame is a very powerful, powerful spiritual enemy. If you don't confront it, it will affect the way you live your whole life, what you do, how you run your relationships. So shame then is a painful emotion, it's a painful experience, It's a feeling you have. It's a feeling you have, it's also a belief, and it's associated with something being wrong with me: I'm not acceptable, something's wrong. So the shame message is - and I'll put it in a way that's really easy too, I'll put it in three words that are really easy to remember. Then when you remember these things, then you'll be able to identify that's shame. Here's the message of shame. The message of shame is: damage; difference; and danger - damage, difference, danger.

Okay, the first part of shame is I'm damaged, something's wrong with me. The second part of shame is I'm different, I'm not the same as you. You notice the first thing that Adam and Eve did was they covered up - presumably they covered up their private parts, the parts that were different. So when shame is talking to you, its message is damage - you're damaged goods. You're different. You're different, you look different and difference is bad, see? Actually God made us all different, and difference is good, but shame will tell you difference is bad, you need to cover up the difference, so you can be alike. Now you can understand that if we don't get a touch and get connected back into relationship with God, we'll end up being religious, because religion will cause you to fear being - it'll never address the shame of your condition. It'll cause you to leave the place where you feel ashamed of, who you are, and be ashamed of being different; whereas God says: I MADE EVERYONE DIFFERENT! HA! When I made you I broke the mould! There's no one like you!