Why Do I Live In A State of Shame?

I turn many times to Greg Boyles book, “Tattoos of the Heart” for a profound demonstration of Jesus’s love for us. In this question, I reveal a fact that each one of us must face in order to love as Jesus loved. In order for us to demonstrate true kinship with those that Jesus calls us to minister to, we must first face our own shame.

Author and psychiatrist James Gilligan writes that the self cannot survive without love, and the self-starved of love, dies. “The absence of self-love is shame, “just as cold is the absence of warmth.” Disgrace obscuring the sun.

Greg says, “Guilt is feeling bad about one’s actions, but shame is feeling bad about oneself. Failure, embarrassment, weakness, overwhelming worthlessness, and feeling disgracefully “less than”—all permeating the marrow of the soul.”

Deep inside each of us, this feeling of shame affects all our words and actions in some way. If you deny it, your pride is getting in the way and you have only to go deeper to see the shame. Why do I believe so strongly that all of us have some form of shame? Because all of us are sinful says the Lord and the deeper we go, the more we see our utter depravity and sinfulness. I have only to meditate for a short time to see how my words and actions are filled with sinfulness every single day. It is easy for me to find my dependence on God’s grace. It has not always been that way for me. The Pharisees thought that they were not sinful and therefore above all others. Jesus called them out and they sought his death.


Jesus calls us to kinship with others and the only way to do that is to admit our shame/sinfulness, so we can empathize with their pain. Our compassion for others starts with our utter transparency.


Mother Teresa told a roomful of lepers once how loved by God they were and a “gift to the rest of us.” (What a profound statement!) Interrupting her, an old leper raises his hand, and she called on him. “Could you repeat that again? It did me good. So, would you mind—-just saying it again?” Does that resonate that you are a gift to others? It should. It is our shame that stands in the way of admitting that with the love of Jesus and His grace, we are a gift to others.


Richard Rohr writes that “the Lord comes to us disguised as ourselves.”

 Jesus is not a man for others. He was and is one with others.


The Japanese speak of a concept called amae, living in a deep sense of being cherished, of raising kids lovingly. None of us had a perfect childhood. So many have had a “father wound”. Only God the Father can replace what we did not get from our flawed earthly father as well as replace what we did not do for our own children.

Greg puts it so well, “I like more of what Jesus does not say, ‘One day, if you are more perfect and try really hard, you’ll be light.” He doesn’t say ‘If you play by the rules, cross your t’s and dot your I’s, then maybe you’ll become light.’ No. He says straight out, ‘You are light of the world.’ It is the truth of who you are, waiting only for you to discover it. …No need to contort yourself to be anything other than who you are. “


I think that is the Legacy answer that I want for my kids. How about you?






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This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come.  It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.

joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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