Embracing Freedom from True and False Shame

Have you carried the baggage of shame around from past hurts either by sins you’ve committed or by what others have done to you? Do you feel healing and freedom is gifted to others but you don’t deserve it for yourself? How do you think Adam and Eve felt; the first taste of shame in the world upon them as they severed humanity’s relationship with God? Can you imagine the anguish they would have felt after learning of their son Cain’s sin of murdering their other beloved son, Abel? The consequences of their sin and now their son’s sin would drastically pain them! In God’s amazing grace, He didn’t leave Adam and Eve without hope, and He doesn’t leave you without it either!

“Adam was intimate with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, for she said, “God has given me another offspring in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” Genesis 4:25

In their grief, Adam and Eve consoled one another in intimacy. This verse is evidence that God redeemed Adam and Eve’s marriage when it could have easily ended after they sinned. All perfect unity with God and them, and with each other was broken. Tension in the marriage entered when their team-type marriage faced the consequences of sin and turned to man ruling over his wife, and her contending for control instead. Yet, the Lord didn’t leave them to themselves to fight it out; He redeemed them. He came alongside them, calling them to Himself again. The first recorded grief of sin for them came when they left the garden of Eden to the wilderness. The second recorded grief came when their son Abel was murdered and their other son Cain was removed from the family to wander the earth. The Lord redeemed their loss with another son, Seth. It wasn’t until Seth fathered a son that the family finally responded back to the Lord.

“A son was born to Seth also, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.” – Genesis 4:25-26

Shame says you’re not good enough for God. You’re not worthy to be loved by Him, you only deserve His wrath. You’re a failure. It tells you to cover up your sin and hide.

There’s something called true shame. This is when you have committed a sin and feel the consequence of it before repenting to the Lord for doing it. Then there’s something called false shame, where you feel guilty for a sin you didn’t commit. Either someone hurt you but you take the blame, or you feel shame from the things happening in the world as a result of it being tainted by sin. For example, Adam and Eve experienced true shame for rebelling against God by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and not owning their actions for it. Then, by example, they might have felt false shame for Cain murdering Abel, feeling like it was all their fault for not parenting him better. Thoughts like, they should have disciplined him more, or loved him more, or made the boys get along better, etc. might have come to mind, casting blame on themselves for his sin.

Either way, it took the Lord blessing them a number of times for them to turn back and call on the name of the LORD, meaning Yahweh, the intimate, personal name of God. A relationship began to form again between Him and people. Though it couldn’t be as intimate as it was in the garden of Eden because sin had tainted what used to be, the Lord, by His grace, extended Himself to them again, and they began to take notice. And when they did, God’s grace abounded.

Genesis 4 ended with joy that people were calling on the name of the Lord once again. The sorrowful state of the burden of sin ended and a new chapter began. There’s a sweet break after the downfall of Adam, Eve, and Cain, almost like Moses, the author of Genesis, was resetting perspective to the purpose of humanity, back to the original creation; that God made us in His image/likeness; that He created them “male and female” and “blessed them.”

“This is the document containing the family records of Adam. On the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God; he created them male and female. When they were created, he blessed them and called them mankind.” Genesis 5:1-2

This is what God does for you and me when we turn back to Him, and confess and repent of our sins. He reminds us of the forgiveness and restoration given to us by what Jesus did on the cross for us. He takes us to the empty tomb to reassure us He defeated sin and shame, and then He takes us to the throne room to affirm He has authority of heaven and earth. The debt has been paid in full. Jesus and Holy Spirit are interceding for us before the Father, and we are set free. He reminds us that we are sons and daughters of the Most-High God and blesses us abundantly because of His love and grace.

If you’re carrying the weight of sin and shame around, turn to God. Confess and repent for any sin you’ve committed not already brought to Him. Acknowledge the true shame you’ve felt for doing so, and then leave it all with Jesus and walk in His freedom knowing the debt’s gone. It’s been nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14-15)! If you’re carrying around shame for sins you didn’t do, for sins of which you’ve already previously repented, or listening to the lies of the enemy saying you’re a failure, not good enough, etc. – drop those now! They aren’t yours to carry! They don’t define you. They don’t reside within you if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ. Shame is trying to whittle you down to nothing so you won’t live to the abundance God designed you to be and to do. Embrace God’s truth that you were made in His image and likeness, and that, along with the blessings given to His people throughout Scripture, He has granted these to you as His child. He has restored you to be holy and blameless in His sight. Remember that always and celebrate His saving grace.

Elohim, Creator God,
We rejoice and celebrate that You have redeemed us sinners who’ve chosen to believe in You and Your Son, Jesus Christ, to the original creation of purity and holiness in Your sight. You love us in an everlasting, untainted way. Thank You for the freedom we can find in You from sin and shame. LORD, I ask You to please help Your children identify where true and false shame might be lingering in them. When they confess those to You, help them to repent of the true shame, and to be released of the false shame. Restore and renew them to Your goodness by Your grace, and may they “abide in [You], so that when [You] appear, [they] may have confidence and not shrink from [You] in shame at [Your] coming.” (1 John 2:28, italics added)
To You be all glory, honour, power, and dominion both now and forevermore. Thank You for Your amazing love and grace for all.
In Jesus’ saving Name we pray,

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