The first day I work with someone I ask if they know the difference between shame and guilt. Usually the answer is no. I then explain that guilt is the feeling I get when I have done something that is outside of my value system. Shame on the other hand is that feeling when I want to hide and not be seen as I am in the sight of others.
Adam and Eve are a great example of this concept of shame. (Gen 1-3) It says in the beginning that they were naked. It is important to remember that Hebrews think in pictures. The picture of naked here means more that they did not have any clothes on. Chapter 2 of Genesis ends saying they were unashamed meaning that there was nothing that was being hidden from God, not that we can hide from God (Ps 139), or each other. It was the perfect marriage where there were no shameful secrets to hide from one another. Both people were completely exposed to one another and there was no shame about it.
Then they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The one thing they were not to do and they did it. At this point shame enters the picture and the first thing they do is make coverings. They no longer want to be seen with all there flaws. Then they attempt to hide from God. This is the perfect picture of shame. We do not want to be seen as we are with our mistake by anyone. We then make coverings, or a facade, to portray ourselves to people a certain way when there is a hidden reality we do not want others to know about. This creates a mental toxicity and allows us to continue to do destructive behaviors. After all, we think no one else knows so why stop.
The way to stop shame in its tracks is to expose those things we are ashamed of. The rules I tell people are 1) expose to God and 2) expose to at least one other person. Next weeks article will explain rules on how to expose.