Unmasking Shame (2 of 6)

Mike Connell

Page 9 of 10
I can remember as a young boy, and we'll see it next week when we look at some of these how it enters in, but often it enters in when you're quite young. Sometimes it enters in through family, but I can remember for me as a young child growing up, at about the age of five. I'd just started primary school. We didn't have any pre-school stuff in those days, so I'd just started primary school, it was actually Marewa School over in Napier there. I started over there and I was probably about six months into it, and I got something wrong in my hair. Of course it's easy to treat now, but in those days they couldn't treat it. It was called ringworm, which is basically I must have handled some cat that had this thing and scratching my hair, I'd got this thing in my hair. Now in those days they couldn't deal with it, so the only way they had to deal with it was, they shaved off all your hair, and what they couldn't shave off they used a piece of tape and pulled the rest all out until you were left absolutely bald.

If that wasn't bad enough, now you've got to go to school bald, so my mother thought she'd protect me. Lovely mum, she wanted to do the best so she made some kind of thing to put over me. Well that made it even worse. Nowadays of course - this was before Cojac. It was alright see if Cojac had been he could have saved me you know. I could have just said oh, Kojak! But he hadn't been around so bald is weird and different. Then of course I became the jeering of people there, and then I was assaulted more than once, with people wanting to actually expose this condition. You can't imagine at five years old what you believe about yourself, and how you feel about yourself, and so I struggled with two other areas which are natural areas. One was lack of co-ordination physically when it came to ball games. You can't believe what that does to you, when you can't do what everyone else can do - something is different, something is wrong with me.

Then I was short sighted as well. I wear glasses now. I never took glasses on until I was in Sixth Form. Because I was so filled with shame about my weakness I never admitted it. See, shame causes you to conceal and cover yourself. I was ashamed about my weakness, I was ashamed about my vulnerability, I was ashamed about who I was. I withdrew. I could not handle school relationships very well, and so I was extremely lonely because of shame, and the fear that goes with it, the paralysing fear someone will find out. Now you understand that? That shaped my whole growing through high school years, and those are the years when you're impressionable, when your life is being formed, when the way you see yourself is being shaped, so I understand the message I'm talking about. So I tried to compensate in a number of ways, so if you'd seen the fruit, you could easily tell what it was; number one, I over performed. I struggled and just buried myself in work, and separated from people. You could tell.

Second, I went away into a place where I didn't have to connect with people. You see the identity's lost, intimacy's lost, dominion lost. It's a terrible place to be, in the place where shame dominates your life. I never knew about the devil and what he could do. I never knew about Jesus and what He did. It was years later when the Lord helped me to face and address this issue of shame. Let me just finish with you a couple of scriptures. One is found in Romans I think, Chapter 9:23, and it says: Those who put their trust in the Lord will never be ashamed. Now does that mean, well we'll put our trust in the Lord? What does that mean, that we'll never be ashamed? Well those who trust Him in their walk, God will never, never allow them to be disappointed and ashamed in the long term, but do we still suffer with shame? Yeah. We need Jesus to help us.

Let me finish with this story. We don't need to read it, it's found in Mark 1. I love this story, and the Lord drew my attention to it this morning and I saw it a little differently. There was a man who was different, and was damaged. He was a leper. In other words, he had a totally disfiguring disease that was visible to everyone, and he was separated from everyone, because lepers had to be separated, so there was no intimacy. His identity was not you are a valuable child of God; you are a leper, stay away. So here's this man. What is he going to do? A man absolutely helpless, covered with the shame of leprosy, with the feeling of being different, the feeling of being damaged, the feeling of no power and he heard about Jesus Christ. It says he came to Him, and he fell down on his knees imploring that Jesus would help him. I just saw this morning something I hadn't seen before, the significance of the touch of Jesus. This man had been isolated. This man had no touch. This man was struggling with who he was, and Jesus didn't - before He even healed him, before He addressed what was the outward problem, He came near to the man, and He touched him, and looked into his eyes. He accepted him just as he was, and then He healed him.