The Giant Called Shame (from Grace Ministries TN)
Since I was a child, David and Goliath has been my favorite Bible story. As a boy it was all about the underdog standing up to the bully. My perspective changed in college, as I saw David’s comparison was not the young boy against the giant, but he described it as the God-defying egotist versus the God of Israel, creator of all things. From that perspective David had an easy decision – either see this Philistine as almighty or embrace the God of Israel as the Almighty. So David chose the God of Israel, the One he had seen deliver him many times in the sheep field. David did not become arrogant through his victories against the lion and the bear, but these deepened his dependence upon the one true God. Read through the account in I Samuel 17 again; see for yourself David’s perspective in an impossible situation.
But this morning I had a new insight. Maybe one of David’s biggest obstacles was his older brother judging his heart. Eliab cursed David, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle?” Fortunately David was unmoved by his brother’s accusation, “…he turned away from him (Eliab) toward another, and spoke in the same way.” David trusted what God had laid on his heart, rather than doubting his own intentions in the face of these shaming words.
As a counselor I see shame stealing people’s freedom more than any other wound does. Shame is that message that speaks, “You are bad.” “Your heart is evil.” “You can’t trust yourself.” “Who do you think you are?” Time after time I watch counselees lay down their dreams, their gifts, and their convictions to avoid having their heart judged by others. As a tool, shame is used to manipulate those who threaten our security. Whether it is the rager, “If you weren’t such a bad kid, I wouldn’t be so angry,” or the minister, “Who are you to question God’s anointed?” shame is a powerful weapon that helps us avoid accountability for our decisions. If you are suggesting that I did something wrong, I just have to question your heart and you withdraw your challenge. The power of shame is in the belief, “If they are angry with me, I must have done something wrong.”
When David faced Goliath, God had already anointed him king because of his heart. (I Samuel 16:7) David moved ahead based on what God said about him and not what his brother believed. If David had lived in shame, he would have responded, “Oh no, my brother is angry. I must have done something wrong. Maybe my motivation is prideful. I’d better get back to my sheep.”
Have you abandoned your dreams, your gifts, your convictions because of shame? Has God shown you issues to confront that you have avoided because someone may get angry? When someone in your life is upset or depressed, do you wonder what you’ve done wrong? Is shame the giant that stands before you today? As David moved ahead in confidence because of who God said he was, God is inviting you to move ahead because of the righteousness He gave you, when He took your shame away. (II Cor. 5:21) “Lord Jesus, what lies am I believing today that keep me from following Your lead?”
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