Dealing With Shame Webinar
Shame is a key part of all of our narratives. This webinar unmasks the voice that shame can have in our lives and in the lives of those we mentor, disciple, and encourage. Learn more about counteracting this voice of shame while providing encouragement and hope to individuals as you watch this webinar recording.
Welcome, to our mentor webinar, Dealing with Shame. I am Arlan Miller and I’m joined with my colleague Matt Kaufman. And we are here to walk through what has become a fairly familiar topic, I think throughout this year. At least, we seem to be having a lot of conversations about it and spend a lot of time looking at it from different angles.
And, we’re gonna zero in here again on this topic of shame, focusing really hopefully on some definitions and how to define it. And then practically speaking, how do we encourage and how do we help others in the midst of maybe the shame that they may have in their life? And what impact that can have.
And I think that’s really one of the takeaways is we’ve spent some time really processing through shame over the last few months. Matt, I’ll ask you to speak into this, but there’s an aspect of shame that is very helpful. It’s very important to point us towards a level of health and improvement. But there’s also an aspect, and maybe it depends upon how we define it and exactly what we mean when we talk about shame, but there’s also an aspect that can be very damaging and can really limit and bind and cause great harm in individuals. Would you agree with that?
You’re absolutely right. Shame has lots of different shades and nuances and words. Words change, their meaning changes. All right? And it’s dicey sometimes to know what it is exactly we’re talking about. Because words take on certain nuances and they’re used in the general public in this light.
And that certainly deals, that’s certainly the case with shame. What we see in the Scriptures might have a little different treatment with the term. So we’re gonna wanna iron that out right off at the start as well, as we talk about this topic. So, yeah, sure.
Let’s go ahead and get started then, Matt, if you would frame up, we start with some Scripture here, right from Genesis 3. It’s a familiar Scripture. Speaks of the garden and Adam and God, and why don’t you do a little frame up for us to get, our minds oriented here.
Yeah, we see shame enter pretty early in the biblical narrative. Genesis chapter three, which we know as the transgression of man. This is when we see brokenness for the first time comes on the scene. In Genesis chapter one and two, it’s just a great narrative with no sin and no shame. But pretty quickly on the heels of disobedience, we see shame in her.
So verse eight, I’ll just read the screen here. And they heard the voice of the Lord God, that’s Adam and Eve walking in the garden, in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. So we see them hiding themselves. So this is the first time the game hide and seek has been played.
And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto them, where art out? And he said, I heard thy voice. This is Adam. I heard thy voice in the garden and was afraid because I was naked and hid myself. And then God says, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldst not eat.
And so we have this, I think this really profound moment here, Arlan, and I think we can all relate to it at many levels. This propensity to hide. And in fact we read the last verse of chapter two that Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed, and now we see them clothing themselves and retreating from God.
But the point that really, I think, needs to be made out of this Arlan, is the type of God God is. And what we see revealed in this story is that God is not a God that’s sending people into hiding. He’s a God that is drawing them out from hiding.
That’s what he does in this account. He is calling out to them and he asks this rhetorical question, Where are you? When he fully well knew where they were is almost to get them thinking to say, see what you’re doing right now in this moment? Do you see that you’re recoiling from the solution, the source of solution that you desperately need in this moment? And that’s me. And so God is a God who calls people out from hiding, not the God who is sending them into hiding. And, that’s really the point that we want to access here today.
You know, I really think that’s a powerful point cuz it speaks on a couple different levels. Right. But it does speak towards just that general concept of hope, that God is a God that seeks and desires to find as opposed to a God that, like you said, that has that separation.
My mind has always gone towards 1 John 4, where you see this idea of God and love so intertwined together and this idea that God of love calls us and answers our fears, right? When you think of hiding in this context, at least I sense this idea of fear and we could do a whole webinar on just fear and the impact it could have on our life.
Well, here is God’s love is the antidote to that fear. And he is perfecting us, or continually calling us into a sense of healing there as he seeks to find us and to pull us out of that hiding. And I think Matt, the point that we wanna really emphasize today, or practically speak to today, is that we have an opportunity, I think as helpers, as mentors, as disciplers, whatever terminology you wanna use necessarily, we have an opportunity to enter into that ministry of finding, as this slide says, we would be those that would receive people out of their hiding, right? We would wanna call them into the health and healing that can come from being found. Speak to that a little bit, Matt. How do you see that play out?
I think it’s a tremendous attribute of God that is largely missed in the society at large. Certainly among non-believers, I think they would find this attribute of God to be quite surprising and quite compelling that God is a God who is actually drawing them out from the hiding that they are in.
And in some way we have an opportunity, whether it be towards unbelievers but even towards the believer, because believers hide with the best of them. And we are still hiding. But to really accent and to example this wonderful quality of God that we would receive people out from that hiding place.
And that’s really the objective of this particular webinar is to say, what does that look like? And we have to know a few things about shame and the reasons why people hide. We need to know a few things about that. So that we can do that well. But I love this as our aspiration. Our aspiration would be to follow God’s example and receive people out from hiding. And in that way, point people unto God in a powerful, introduce people to God in a tremendous way.
Because really he’s the one that does the healing, right? God, Jesus. They’re the ones that bring the healing. But we have that opportunity to help connect together there. I appreciate that. And let’s have that kind of as our framework right in the back of our mind. Okay. This is about helping people come out of hiding. So several things we’ll walk through here. Five questions we’re gonna desire to answer here in this 45 minutes we have together. What is shame and where does it come from, are the first couple things we’ll look at.
And then what are its effects? How do we see it in the life of individuals and maybe in our own life, right? What are some of the hallmarks of shame and it’s impact. And then what are a few things that we should remember about shame? And then how do I encourage a person struggling with shame.
We’re gonna hopefully zero in and spend a good portion of our time down there at that tail end, cuz that’s the practical piece. How do we encourage, again, ourselves, but also those that we interact with who might be in a place of shame. But let’s define this, Matt. Let’s define what we mean when we talk about shame, cuz I think as we said, nuances and definitions matter.
And so you can look at it in a couple different lenses here. So one way you can define shame is that strong negative emotion that arises from the disappointment in one’s self, right? So at its core, shame is about a disappointment in yourself or your person. And I think there’s two aspects under this umbrella that we wanna separate out and I’m gonna ask you to do some color commentary on it here in just a second, but there’s a common biblical use that you see sometimes in the Bible that’s a negative emotion that arises from doing wrong. And I think that one really ties almost with this term guilt. And we should probably talk through where does guilt start and stop and where does shame start and stop, right?
And, on the other side here then, we have what we have termed toxic shame or this idea that shame is that negative emotion that arises from believing that one is a mistake. So notice there’s a specific nuance here. This is about the doing or the action that is wrong on the left hand side and on the right hand side, toxic shame.
This is talking more about the person being incomplete in some way, or being wrong, or even that terminology, a mistake, which we all probably hear in our own heads and too often in the mouths of others. Did I tease that out well, Matt, add your thoughts to it.
Sure. A strong negative emotion that arises from disappointment in oneself can be good. And it can be bad, right? So that’s pretty neutral. And really shame, we understand that about shame. And when it comes to biblical, and again, I’m not a deep theologian and I haven’t overturned every rock, but when I looked into the biblical treaties of shame, which it does use shame and guilt, here’s what I found specifically about guilt.
Guilt, nearly every time that I saw it’s use in the Bible was always a matter of standing. Jack is guilty. It’s not about feeling at all. It’s about a judicial standing with some issue. So you have guilt being used like that, and then what negative emotion rises from that awareness of one’s guilt, well then shame complements that.
And so you have there in the garden a guilty standing and we have a shameful feeling, which is a negative disappointment in oneself. Certainly Adam and Eve had that. This is good and right and the Holy Spirit works this within us. What we use today though, we use the word guilt for two ways. We use it in two different ways today.
We use that to say, So and so was guilty. He did such and such a thing, but we also say, so and so feels guilty. Notice how we use guilt as a feeling word. So now we’ve got two. We say a person can be guilty and feel guilty, and we know what that means. Typically in the Bible, we don’t feel guilty. We feel shameful.
But, in today’s world, we use feeling guilty and we have feeling shameful. And so notice how shame now takes on another layer of nuance in today’s language. And it is putting its finger on something that occurs, and that is this toxic shame as we’ve got here on the right side of the screen, this belief that I, in myself am broken and without repair. I feel shameful. So it’s beyond feeling guilty and now feeling shameful. Does that help tease it out? It’s not just an acknowledgement that I did wrong, but acknowledgement, Oh. Or in a self admittance that I am fundamentally flawed and beyond repair.
And I really appreciate that and I go back to that imagery we started with, of the garden and Adam and Eve, and that they went beyond that guilt they had done something wrong to that place of hiding where, because they felt they were no longer able to be in God’s presence. They tried to hide or tried to go somewhere else. And we see that often, I think, in ourselves again and in others.
That when you see that move towards hiding. It’s a sense or it can be an aspect of that shame, that toxic shame and the dwelling heavier on the person than just the act of guilt. Right? That needs to be almost, Arlan, like, there’s a rewrite, we know, in Genesis chapter two and one, God says, I am pleased.
After everything he created, he said, This is a good thing. This is good. Look at, look what I’ve created. Adam is good. And it’s as if Satan now has said, this is bad. He has a new banner over God’s creation and says, this is bad. And so now we have that script as well that we as humans deal with on this side of the fall.
And, really the work of what we want to promote here in this webinar, is joining God in reclaiming that good standing and that good pronouncement. And so there’s some things that we have to work through with shame. So this is our working definition for the shame as we use it in this presentation.
It’s the negative feeling that arises when we are disappointed in ourselves and propels us away from the source of our healing. It’s exactly what was happening there with Adam and Eve that whenever we hide, whenever we retreat, we’re actually moving away from that, which delivers us. If I’m hiding, I’m moving away from confession, which confession is reparative, whenever I move towards hiding.
And so we might say guilt is that negative feeling that arises when we are disappointed in ourselves and propels us towards that solution. And so we’re gonna use shame and again, we’re just hard defining it here so that we know what it is we’re talking about. This is what we’re gonna use.
And I think you can see immediately, quickly here. I appreciate that comment there of just how relationship comes into it. How it becomes a mental game that we can, an individual can be playing with themselves. And the voices and the scripts and the stories that we will get into that really drive us into that hiding.
And yet we need often the relationship of others, right? And that’s the beautiful opportunity of mentoring, discipling, encouraging. To help rewrite those scripts or to help someone see, no, you don’t have to go into hiding. You go back to that game of hide and seek, Matt. You know, it’s not much of a game if there’s no one seeking.
Right. No one helping pull people out of hiding. Right. It’s just hide. Right. You know, and so I think by nature, shame and relationship go very close together. And I think frankly in the realm of mentoring and discipling, you’re gonna see this interplay of shame and guilt and hide and seek play out quite a bit.
And you’re absolutely right. One of the hallmarks of shame is isolation. So that is an effect. We’re gonna get to that but that’s gonna be a sure tell side effect is isolation.
Let’s go on and just talk through here a little bit, where does this shame come from? So this is a graphic that we use that just shows, so you can take this at base level. Where does shame come from? Pretty much everywhere, right? It can come from pretty much everywhere. You can talk through each of those there on the bottom left. You have sin and actions that were wrong and that were done, that were not according to God’s plan.
And then you have things like loss or hurt that really comes upon us all and often is outside of our control. And yet, depending upon how we respond to that and how we react to that, that can lead towards a measure of shame in ourselves and in the lives of others. And then you continue this around to failure, rejection, inabilities, this comparison game that can be so powerful.
I’ve seen stats, Matt, where they talk about the rise of mental health challenges, and shame being one of them, or just depression or anxiety and other things. The rise of mental health challenges correlating with the rise of technology, of social media, of this ability for us to see everybody around us. Probably not totally accurately, right? I mean, usually not a hundred percent real, but see everybody around this and begin to think self. I don’t measure up, I’m not as good, or I don’t have as much to offer. And that voice over time, it can factor into shame and it can factor into all kinds of things. Any of these you wanna call out or really.
And just a note that sin is one contributor to shame. And I think this is where we see the use of shame has morphed over time. That shame is appropriately used in all of these. Whereas sin is really that guilt piece, shame coming out from a place of guilt.
But, in the others of these, there’s really not guilt involved. You take hurt, for example, a person who has been abused, has been treated as broken goods. They have been treated by somebody and abused by somebody, and that abuse has basically said to their hard wiring, I am less than, and I am a broken person. I am just for everybody’s use. You can see now that’s not sent on their behalf. And they have now a script running in their head. A very toxic shame script. Inabilities is a great example as well. You and I both have taught in the classroom, I have taught students who just are gonna struggle with mathematics.
Now, I mean, just gimme their IQ score and I know what’s gonna be difficult and it’s a shameful experience for them to get a poor grade on a test or to not be able to come up with the answer in class. Again, and, what’s running in their head? They are evaluating their worth based on their ability to do mathematics.
Which they simply do not have the hard wiring to do. And so you can, rejection is going to be huge, right? When a person is rejected, you can only stomach so much rejection without it starting to tell you some things about yourself, whether it be, proposals for marriage, whether it be trying to get a job and application, or whether it be trying to be selected for some position. These are areas where people start, it contributes to this self concept that can be shameful. So that kind of helps. We could go on with the other ones, but yeah.
Shame is multifaceted. And you know, whenever I think in this area or whenever I spend time processing through shame, my parenting comes into play instantly in my mind. And I think about just how I interact with my children and just the voices I can see reflected, perpetrated by myself if I’m not careful in my language. Now, let’s fast forward that and you’re a boss of an employee and you see a reaction to some type of situation where there’s a shut down that takes place.
Or there’s this, you can just see this sense of failure or inability or never good enough that story that continues to perpetuate. These shame stories are built over time. And there’s little things. It’s like you keep putting little pebbles on the pile and over time, that can build bigger and bigger. And often when we come into someone’s life, we’re coming in after quite a mound has been formed. And so some of the unpacking that can happen, is just that gentle understanding of what are these voices that are going on in a person’s head, and what are the stories they’re telling themselves and what are the scripts that keep going on and on.
And rewriting those is really the objective. And, you’re right, there’s a lot to rewrite cuz there’s years of evidence contrary to the fact that you have to rewrite.
So yes, let’s walk through that. Then here’s a little bit of a process here. Here’s some of the effects that you can see here. So you have a belittling event. So just something that happens. One of those small pebbles. Exactly right. It’s a trigger of some type that instantly flashes up in a person’s mind. And we are trained, I think our bodies can be trained in a way that instantly the default reaction is towards a lie of some type.
You see an example here on the screen. I’ll never amount to anything. I’m never good enough or I can’t ever measure up or I wish I was as good as so and so, type thing. And then that lie leads towards the effect, one you called out already Matt. Isolation. And that is closely tied to hopelessness, which over time can get some really deep, deep water here of things like bitterness and anger ongoing, festering, again, we get sometimes brought into the middle of it. Now, often you’re gonna see the right hand side of this paradigm, right? You’re gonna see the effect. That’s what’s gonna be the evidence in a person’s life. But it’s really helpful, I think, to probably work backwards here a little bit, right, Matt, and see what is happening that’s causing that effect or leading towards that effect.
Yeah. And, I think it’s helpful just to see the effect that this is what shame can do in a person’s life and keeping them isolated, hopelessness, the bitterness that grows in a person’s heart and life.
This is heavy stuff. And, so we can see the ramifications now of what lies do in a person’s mind. And those lies are very often triggered by a shaming event. And so we really recognize with the slide here on the content of this slide is, okay, this is what we’re up against.
But I would like to point out that the reason why we shame is because there’s very often a positive, immediate response to that. When I shame my kids by helping them see that no other kid, no other 15 year old talks back to their parent, that there’s no other 15 year old that talks back to their parent.
Now what have they done? They’re like, Oh my goodness, that’s how bad I am. I’m not gonna talk back to mom and dad now today. And so I can turn their behavioral around with that right between the eyes type of comment. But what have I done? I have isolated them. I’ve planted a lie in their head that says that they are, something must be seriously wrong with them because they’re the only person on the earth that has talked back to their parents at age 15 and now there can be a bitterness born out of that. So I’ve got down the road problems now to turn around that immediate behavior.
Or the example this morning in my household. They’re the only six year old who’s ever left a drawer stuck out. And I’m like, why can’t you push the drawer in? We’re instantly, I got the reaction I wanted. I got the action that I was wanting. The drawer was pushed in, but the consequences is a sense of shame and in a way that’s just not, my son was being a six year old, and not intentional in any way, shape or form with that.
Think about those pebbles being built up over time and now you’re mentoring or you’re discipling a 30 year old. Or a 25 year old or a 55 year old who have lived their life always feeling like they’ll never amount to anything, and the isolation that can cause, it’s a really, I think, humbling thing for us to reflect back and to counteract that.
Let’s keep moving here and just walk through a couple of other things here. So just some different statements or some things to remember and then we’re gonna shift towards how do we provide hope in the midst of it. So, shame shames, speak to that, Matt. Simple statement. What’s a nuance there?
I’m more likely to shame when I’m feeling shame. And in fact, I’m a most shaming parent when I’m ashamed at my parenting. That’s a sure tell sign that I’m gonna shame is because I’m ashamed. Right? And so there is some deep work that we do within ourselves in order to be healthy towards people, because of the nature that shame tends to shame.
And then that shame will drive the second one there. It can drive a negative script that runs in our head. I think we’ve talked about that, right? But that shame will continually be a story that we tell ourselves. I heard someone say just recently, the most influential person in our lives is ourself. It’s the self talk that’s going on in our life, day in and day out that can have this ongoing negative story that we tell ourselves, day in and day out. No relief from that.
Just look at the statistics. All right? Take the time under the sound of a preacher, in your week’s time, what have you got? Two, three hours maybe, depending. Maybe you took on a podcast out of the total hours, right? Maybe you’re reading a book that’s helpful. All right, let’s put that in there. We’re talking about pittance and the amount of commentary that goes on in our heads. And so when we see how that’s stacked up and a toxic shame script has got a ton of momentum.
It’s got a ton of inertia in a person’s life because when we’re done talking to ’em, it picks up. And it fills in all the rest of the gaps. So, that is the shame script, I think, is an important concept to understand how that works. And that’s why, as you said it takes time.
And it really speaks I think that Scripture says renewing of the mind, right? I think that’s an aspect of that we’re talking about here, the renewing of the mind, where we are taking that script and rewriting it over time. That’s the opportunity at least, that we can engage in. The third one there. We will shame and will be shamed. It will happen. I think again, what did Christ say? There will be offenses, we cannot unfortunately avoid the fact that this will happen, but we can be prepared or aware of the impact it can have in the lives of ourselves and others.
And even that non shaming intent, it can incite shame. Sometimes you’ll see those, again, I use the word triggers, you’ll see those triggers pop out here or there where something that should not, a comment that was not intended for anything other than just a comment. There’s a deep history there that suddenly, the brain knows how to jump right into that script and it can lead to great damage in that regard.
That script is gonna interpret whatever you hear, whoever you intake. Oh, I saw them roll their eyes. I know exactly what that. It means this, according to our shame script, or that person looked concerned furrowed their brow, I know what that means. And so we fill in the blank. And so yes, non shaming intentions, if that person really knew what they were communicating, they, they would be appalled. Oh, that’s the farthest thing from my intentions is to have that person think this about themselves. And yet, and again, going back up to the previous point. Yeah. I’m guilty of shaming people with no intention to shame. That’s the nature of the world we live in. That’s the nature of how this plays. We can’t manage all of that, but we can at least hopefully grow in our awareness of how shame works so that we can do enough of the other thing, enough of the good work, to break it down over time.
Can you imagine? Think about it. There are individuals who have never heard the words, good job, or you are special or you are valuable. Their whole life they’ve never heard that. And then we wonder why there’s this tending towards isolation or towards acting out in some way, shape, or form.
And, sometimes, just that affirmation is so powerful. I think the psalm says something like, Do good to those who you can do good to, when it’s in the power of your hand to do it, something along those lines. Because the power of encouragement and the power of a positive word to someone is really strong in an individual’s life.
And then the last one, Shame plays on lies and perpetuates lies. We’ve talked through that a little bit. That usually goes into that lie script or that negative script, and it’s going to know how to get the furthest mileage from those emotions and feelings there.
And that’s important because that’s our way in on reversing a shame, and we’ll talk about this too again, but if we can identify a lie. Then reversing that lie is going to be key in moving towards health. So yes, shame plays on lies, is a key to this concept.
So we have a graphic here next and, Matt, I’m gonna ask you to walk through this graphic in just a second, but it really kinda lays out visually what we’ve been talking about. Why don’t you just go into that? Yeah. And, we’ll use this for some framework here.
So let’s start in the middle there where we have courage. It takes courage to be vulnerable. We’ve got vulnerability going out, both the left and the right. Let’s take the right trail first.
A person is courageous. That means they’re taking a risk. Whenever you’re courageous, you’re taking a risk for really potential pain. That’s what courage is. I’m taking a risk. I might feel pain from this. Don’t like that. All right. That is being vulnerable. Okay. If that vulnerability is met with shame. Now again, as we’ve talked about shame, as we’ve defined shame, that is you are broken, shame on you. We know what that connotation is shame on you, what that’s going to do to that individual is gonna put them in withdrawal. They are gonna withdraw themselves back into their hiding.
Okay, so a person who has experienced that shame, they stepped out, they experienced that shame, and then they withdraw. And, so let’s look at now the left hand side. What the left hand side does is that same vulnerability, that same self exposure, that same willingness to take on risk, but it’s met with reception.
This is the beautiful quality about God. Most, I really believe that most of the world thinks that God runs the right hand program. But instead, God runs the left hand program. He receives them. He receives them and that propels then possible action that propels now to flourishing.
This is what allows for healing because we’ve gotten it out now through a confession or relationship is now possible, right? Because, love, anytime we have a relationship with a person is vulnerable at some level and it’s received. We don’t have relationships with people that don’t receive our vulnerability.
Those relationships die. So relationship’s possible. And there’s another one here just to get a sense, Arlan, that we’re not just talking about sin and hurt and brokenness. Creativity requires this whenever, and I’ll just run an example. How many of us have had an idea, could be in a committee, could have been in a group of people, could have been at potluck. I’ve got an idea, but we didn’t share it. And we didn’t share it because we thought maybe it’s stupid. That was a classic right. I had an idea, do I take the risk and share it? Maybe I’ll be shamed for it.
Maybe I have been shamed in the past for it, and I’ve just decided in this group I don’t offer anything and we shut down. Yeah. But, if we have environments like the left hand there, then ideas get brought out. And we’re actually able to be creative. Creativity is always vulnerable because it’s us putting ourselves out there and then thinking, is there something to this? I think there is something to this valuable. I wonder if anybody else does. So you can see here that there’s a lot of gain that can be had when we understand how shame works.
I really appreciate that. And I think there’s an important caveat there too, right? Just reception doesn’t mean that you condone the behavior. So let’s use an example, where an individual has engaged in a sinful activity of some type, and they’re feeling shame because of that, appropriate shame because of that. There’s a reception that can happen without condoning the behavior. In fact, that is actually extremely helpful and extremely important. On the other side, there’s no hope given. There’s no possibility given of renewal at all. That action has scarred you permanently. You could put it that way. I’d love to use an example.
Right outta the life of Jesus. He does this over and over again. Let’s take the woman caught in adultery. Classic sin, right? This is sin and what he did is he received that woman in that moment. He received her in that moment, didn’t condone her sin, but he received her and what did he do? He empowered her to go and sin no more. Do you see how he moved her to flourishing?
Now, what did the Pharisees do? They didn’t receive her. They shamed her. And, you talk about reception, here’s a phrase that I think we can take that I think says it well, and that is help people know that you want them on your team. Help people know that’s really what they want to know.
Notice how the Pharisees did not want her on their team. That was shameful. But Jesus wanted her on his team and that was life giving. That’s the same thing with Mary Magdalene, right? Mary, I want you on my team. And it was reparative. That was the woman at the well, I want you on my team. Yeah. Well, let’s deal with the sin. You’ve got sin in your life but he receives. On and on the examples go, Jesus worked the left hand side of this, just day in and day out with people.
Yeah. And that really is the crux of the matter right there. This is the decision point right here across the middle, either, with that vulnerability and that courage that the individuals give. And over time they will do the same thing with you. If you’re blessed with the opportunity to be an encourager, a mentor in their lives, there will be a spot of vulnerability and then there’ll be an option of driving towards shame and removal, right? Or reception and renewal and flourishing, where we have this idea of a route forward in biblical truth and grace is really what you’re seeing on that left hand side. We’ll come back to this, but let’s look just a couple of last kind of how do we encourage someone, right?
How do we provide specific encouragement? We’ve touched on these and I want listeners to have that graphic in mind as we walk through these, but let’s zero in on just a couple of these statements. One of the first ideas is that we have an opportunity to reverse a shame script. We counter their lie with truth.
Again, we’ve walked through that, but I think there’s a real practical activity that can happen sometimes when just helping people uncover their lies that they tell themselves. It can be having them write out the script that they have in their head. When you were in that spot of difficulty or toughness or depression. Write out what’s going on in your head. What is the story you’re telling yourself? And then line that up. Number one, sometimes it seems silly when we actually put it on paper. It doesn’t seem silly in the middle of the night when it’s going through our head and keeping us up at night.
But if we would actually write it down on paper or tell it to somebody else, it seems so wrong. They’re so false. And so part of our opportunity is to bring that lie to light and help rewrite that script in some way, shape, or form.
Yep. And that could be with some good questions. I perceive that you might think this about yourself. Is that true? Or, how do you think that occurrence in your life has shaped your thinking? Or, you try to help understand that script and it’s captured in their mind.
And so teasing that out is, I think, a skillset. But it is something to try to do because once we know what it is they’re thinking about and how they’re processing their interactions with people and how they read situations, then that’s now an area where we can truly encourage them and speak truth now to them in those important ways.
In the second one there, it speaks about honoring the essence of their being apart from their behavior circumstances. So not defining someone by what they did, but defining someone by who they are, Scripture does that, we are precious in his sight. We are valuable in his sight, and he has called us out and redeemed us from those circumstances, turned us into to new people if we have our faith and belief in him. And I think that’s a really important piece. It’s just that separation. You’re not condoning the action, but you’re also not condemning the person because of it. Sometimes, Matt, some things that happen is if you’re meeting with a person regularly or mentoring a person regularly, and this conversation, discussion is always about the actions that person is doing, you can get to the point where that relationship is defined by those actions.
And so sometimes it’s healthy, intentionally to either reaffirm the value to the person or just do something, just be with the person just enjoy the person without always trying to fix something. It can go a long ways in helping separate out the behavior from the individual.
I think, and this particular point really is our own personal growth. This is all about us viewing people like God views people. And when I see this particular person, do I automatically think, oh, poor an abuser. Okay, let’s talk. Right. I’m not thinking about it correctly. I’m not thinking about this person correctly, or when I think about this particular person is like, oh, this is a anger abuser.
Right? That’s not gonna be helpful. Or alcohol user and think about, and I think we can really see this, again, going back to the examples of Jesus when we look at how other people viewed. So how did the Pharisees see the woman caught in adultery? Just like that, adultress, That’s who we have here before us.
Jesus saw something much, much more. I love how the disciples interact with Jesus. When they were aghast that he was talking to the woman at the well, how did they view the situation? Samaritan? Well, more, or the people in town, they would’ve said, adulterous, fornicator, right?
And, Jesus dealt with it, but yet saw her as much, much more. Those things weren’t most important, most central to him. And, he does this. The rich young ruler comes to him and we read the Scripture that he loved him. And no doubt everybody else saw this as an entourage, a ruler, and all of that. And, Jesus saw a soul. And, so I’m profoundly challenged time and time again on how Jesus viewed people on how he related to them apart from their distracting and, colorful situations.
And that’s not an easy skill. That’s a skill of a lifetime of learning to be like our Master, like Jesus. Because it becomes very easy to wanna define people by what we see or what we observe. And yet that’s a beautiful skill. I really appreciate the nuances you bring out on that. And so this third point, it says, don’t give up. Be patient. That’s be patient with ourselves. Like we just talked about this idea of learning how to do a right, but also being patient with the other individual, if they have a mound of pebbles, that’s been built up, it’s gonna be very hard to relearn that in a short period of time. And so part of this opportunity is just the patient long term relationship that we can have with an individual. And that leads towards the last point, this idea of, as you said earlier, Matt, communicate to them that you want them on your team.
You value them. We are offering acceptance. That’s the power in many ways of the Church of God. It offers acceptance to so many that are rejected because their scripts and their stories and their actions don’t measure up to what people’s expectations think they should be.
Here’s just a simple way that I try to do that. Interacting with a. Is after we’ve talked about whatever we need to talk about, I like to ask their opinion on something that I’m needing or I’m questioning or question about the Scriptures and what they’re reading is on it. Simply because, not to patronize, but just simply because I’m sure that they can help me understand something. And, from perspectives that I can’t. What I’m doing in that moment is I’m showing them that I want them on my team and I want them playing in the game as well. And I really think Arlan, this is really, really critical, this concept. People are afraid that they are going to be voted off the team. Yeah. That they are going to be sent away. And, there’s lots, I think, very tangible ways that we can, and this doesn’t mean that they don’t need to endure consequences or even have to be discipled means to be disciplined. We do this in the home with the kids all the time. We, mete these out in tandem so that they know that man, you’re a part of this family and I don’t want you to be anywhere else.
I’m mindful of the Scripture and Hebrews where it speaks to this idea of running with patience the race set before us and lest you be weary or faint, you look towards Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and then he goes on too, he says that the next passage right after that speaks to this idea of chastisement and discipline and a loving father offers chastisement and discipline. Because the father wants that son or daughter to be in their family. They want them to be on their team.
I can remember in my former career as an educator, there would be individuals in the classroom who you knew that in their life, they had no one saying to them, not parents, not anybody saying to them, I want you on my team. You are valuable to me. And that’s a beautiful opportunity I think we have in this space to speak that voice of God’s truth into their life.
And isn’t that God’s truth? Exactly. And isn’t that the essence of what we have when we talk about a God who calls people out of hiding, is a God who’s saying, Come, I want you on my team. I am not saying good riddance, but I want you on my team. So that is the heart of God and we have an opportunity to embody that in I think a tremendous way.
Yeah, we do. And so I put this slide back up because you see that reception on one side, the shame and withdrawal on the other side. I think it’s a good graphic, a good visual for us just to have in our minds as we walk through those concepts. We do really appreciate you joining us and taking time to be with us here. And, Matt, any kind of final thoughts that you might have and to take us to the end here?
No, I really don’t. I think it’s a special way I think we have as we engage with people to embody Christ and so anyway, I don’t have anything more to say.
Well, let’s be encouraged then. Thanks so much for joining us and thanks so much for being part of this conversation with us. As we just think about the opportunity we have to bring reception, as we see isolation and depression build within people. Let’s be God’s people use by his love and grace and truth.
Let’s be encouraging people to a place of flourishing as we speak through their shame to the love that he offers to the seeking that he gives. And, let’s receive them and propel them towards the hope that only Jesus can give himself. Thanks again for joining us.