Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast : Ep 12
Betsy Kylstra has a wonderful teaching on the causes of shame. I am taking from her teaching for this part of our podcast.
Today’s scripture is once again Isaiah 61:7, which reads:
“Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.”Isaiah 61:7
We are going to start this podcast by looking at some of the causes of shame. Remember that shame, like many other generational sins, can be resident in your bloodline but it is dormant until something comes along to activate it. We will start this podcast by talking about some of the events or conditions that activate shame.
Remember that shame is resident within most of us having started with Adam and Eve. Then shame gets passed down from our ancestors and is resident in our bloodline in a dominant state. It always takes a triggering event to activate it. Someone could theoretically have shame in their bloodline and without a triggering event, the shame would remain dormant. Betsy points out in her teaching that some of the following are events or conditions that trigger or activate shame. You will also recognize that in some people, shame is very obvious. They wear their shame outwardly and it is not hard to recognize. In other people shame can be more covert. As you listen to this list of circumstances or events, ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify if shame is operating in you on either the overt or covert level. You don’t want to walk in any measure of shame since Jesus has provided our freedom from shame.
Abandonment – Being physically or emotionally abandoned, especially by those close to us who are supposed to protect and take care of us. The abandonment causes the person to wonder “what is wrong with me that the significant people in my life are not there for me.”
Being the scapegoat – A scapegoat is the focus of blame. Everything is always their fault. When something is wrong, the scapegoat is the first person to be accused.
Being exposed or overpowered by an authority figure. Being ridiculed by a teacher or a coach, boss, church leader, or a parent. Especially when this treatment is done publicly. (My experience with Coach Hall.)
Any type of abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, verbal. Abuse communicates that you deserve this treatment because there is something wrong with you.
Illegitimacy – With illegitimacy shame can actually start in the womb. The child that is conceived out of marriage can pick up shame from the parents prior to birth.
Poverty – Having less than the people around you. (The house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear.)
A Loss – The loss of anything valuable/meaningful/important to us is shaming. The loss of a job, of a relationship, of a house. For example, you can feel shame if your parents get a divorce or even if one parent dies.
Alcohol or drugs – The whole family can be shamed by having a parent or family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Being different – Anything that makes us think or feel we are different from others. Being very tall or short, wearing thick glasses, having a stutter, having a handicap.
Cultural Shaming – Certain cultures are more prone to use shame. For example, shame is quite normal in the Asian culture.
Shame by association – When we associate with people who are shamed based we can take on shame by association.
Once shame is activated it can manifest in many different ways in a persons life. Betsy says that the following are just some of the fruits of shame.
Unworthiness – If I can make others look less, then I will have more worth. This person typically operates in blame shifting (blame others so I won’t look so bad), or in put downs. If I can make others look bad, I won’t look so bad. This is also the person who can not accept a compliment or allow others to do nice things for them.
The Victim – This is classic shame based behavior. A victim feels powerless and there is nothing they can do about it. They often blame others for problems. “It’s not my fault because they did it to me.” The victim does not take responsibility for their mistakes.
The apologizer – They apologize all the time, for everything. They feel like a burden to others. I’m Sorry are the most common words in their vocabulary.
Avoiding Conflict – I must keep the peace at all costs.
Performance – The perfectionist thinks if they do everything right, or if they have all the right answers, then they are beyond criticism. They are trying to perform to make up for how they feel about themselves.
Fear – They fear that others will think the same destructive lies about them that they believe about themselves.
Bitterness – They believe that what they have done is inexcusable.They can have grace and forgiveness for others, but not for themselves. Bitterness is the fruit of unforgiveness.
How can you break free from shame? By using the RTF integrated approach to ministry. All four areas of RTF ministry must be dealt with at the same time to receive complete freedom from the effects of shame. Some would ask, “Why can’t I just go forward at church and receive prayer for the removal of shame from my life?” Because all four of the ministry areas are in operation holding shame in place. Jesus Christ has already paid the price for us to be set free from shame, we individually need to cash His check.
The first thing that must be dealt with is the generational iniquity of shame that is passed down from the ancestors. There is the iniquity of shame that is in the bloodline. Iniquity is not the same thing as sin, but it is the pressure to sin. In other words, iniquity pushes you to commit the same sins as your ancestors. So this iniquity puts pressure on you to walk in shame, and is pushing you to live in shame and must be broken off. Many people repent of their sins and then wonder why they continue to struggle with that same sin. It is usually that the pressure caused by the iniquity that is in the bloodline has not been cut off and continues to push them back to the same sins over and over again.
I personally struggled with shame all of my life. From as early as I can remember I felt like there was something wrong with me. To use Chester’s words, I believed that I was uniquely flawed. I was a VERY active child who got into mischief more than my older brother or sister. Thus I got in more trouble than either of them. My experience of comparing myself with my siblings plus many other events reinforced to me that there really was something wrong with me. When we went through RTF ministry for the first time and were introduced to the generational iniquity of shame that came down my family line, my struggle made sense. You see, my grandfather was a businessman in the United States during World War 1 and was ashamed of being German. In an attempt to hide our German roots, he changed the spelling of our last name from the German spelling to a more English spelling. Without knowing it, I was born into shame.
Once the iniquity of shame is broken off, then the lies we believe about shame must be changed into the truth. These lies have often been part of our belief system from very early in life. Here are only a few examples of the lies that shame tells us. This is not meant to be a complete list, just some samples to allow the Holy Spirit to stir your thinking to recognize your own lies.
I am a bad person. If you knew the real me, you would reject me.
Everything is my fault. I am to blame.
I have so many deficits (faults) that I will never be able to make up for them all.
I am a burden to others. I don’t have a right to exist.
I must prove that I am worthy of love.
I will never be able to do enough to measure up.
I am a disappointment to others.
I am a disappointment to God.
There is something wrong with me.
Another type of lie that shame based people struggle with are false identity statements. These lies are very powerful because they lie to you about your God given identity. Here are just a few examples:
I am bad
I am a basket case
I am a burden
I am dirty
I am defective
I am stupid
I am a failure
I am unfixable
I am useless
I am unlovable
I am worthless
Both types of lies need to be renounced and then taken to Father God to hear His truth. When we hear what God says, the truth really does set us free.
The next area that must be dealt with are the wounds caused by shame. Shame is a distorted lens that we look at life through. When looking at life through the lens of shame, it is very easy to get hurt and wounded by events in life. These wounds, when unhealed, are a landing strip that the enemy uses to cause us more pain and hurt. The enemy is very good at keeping our wounds from healing. The good news is that Jesus is more powerful than the enemy and when we allow Him the opportunity, He is amazing at healing the broken hearted. When we allow Him into those wounded places in our lives, He meets us in a very intimate and personal way and brings healing to our hurts.
The final area that must be dealt with for complete freedom from shame is to remove the demonic oppression from our life. This is easy to do once we have dealt with the other three areas I have already mentioned. It is essential that we deal with the other three areas of the generational iniquity, the lies we believe, and the wounded places in order to take the enemies legal rights to oppress us away. Once his legal rights are removed, it is our right as children of God to command him to leave. And he has to do what we tell him to do because of our authority as children of God.
Something that is common in many church settings is for well meaning leaders to try to help those who struggle with shame to get freedom by trying to pray shame off of them. I wish it was that easy. Shame is held in place by several factors. That is why the RTF integrated approach is so successful in setting people free from shame because it deals with all four ministry areas that hold shame in place.
Something else that is common is for people to tolerate a little shame in their lives. “I can handle it because it is not as bad as the shame on Joe or Sally.” Even a little shame is too much. Don’t put up with it. Don’t settle for anything less than freedom. Jesus died a very shameful death on the cross. Most of the portrayals show Jesus at least having a loin cloth covering his nakedness. The reality was that He was probably totally naked on the cross, which was a very shameful thing in that day and now. He died a shameful death so that He could carry our shame upon Himself on the cross. He died a shameful death so that we don’t have to live a shameful life.