When a shameful thing is done to us, we sometimes wind up owning or internalizing it, as if the shame is ours.
It’s like our very soul gets infected with it. When we do something shameful, we can repent and be free of it. That’s the beauty of the Gospel—the overwhelming reality of Grace. But when we’ve been abused or assaulted, we cannot repent for what someone else did—for someone else’s sin. That’s between them and God.
And if we try to own their shame, even partially, we internalize the lie that we are somehow to blame for the evil that happened to us—that we deserve the pain we are in because we are what the Enemy says we are…nothing—worse than nothing. Guilt is about what we did. Shame is about who we are.
So, in a confused effort to self-protect and gain control—to never be vulnerable again, we convince ourselves that we were partially at fault—that we were complicit in our own abuse. If we wouldn’t have_____. That we somehow deserved it. And since this is a shame for which we can’t repent, we are bound to it, forgetting it’s no ours to bear.
Satan is a big fan of shame because he doesn’t just want to kill us; he wants to humiliate us. But God knew this. That’s why Jesus didn’t just die on the cross, He was shamed on the cross.
The Bible says that “who for the joy that was set before Him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2)
He hung totally naked and bleeding before a violent, mocking crowd. A Roman crucifixion wasn’t just the most agonizing way to die, it was the most humiliating.
He hung dying alone, exposed, separated from His father, and in excruciating pain and humiliation. He willingly took our shame upon Himself—He despised it and saw it as nothing compared to the joy set before Him—the joy of restoring us—of being connected to us for eternity!
“It is finished!” He took all the shame upon Himself—yours, mine, and ours! Repent for any shameful thing you’ve done, but don’t own what isn’t yours. Either way, Jesus can redeem it all.