So many Christians carry the burden of a painful past or a consuming addiction or a broken relationship with their Savior. And so many feel the need to keep their struggle hidden. The horror of a shame-ridden Christianity is not what God intended for us.
|

The Horror of Shame in the Church {Plus a GIVEAWAY}

There is nothing worse than the illusion of perfection in our churches.

We see others who have it all together and we feel that something is wrong inside of us.

We see leaders and teachers who preach against sinners without sharing their own struggle with sin. We see friends and families that spread gossip and judgement like wildfire.

And this causes an isolation within us that leads to shame.

 

So many Christians carry the burden of a painful past or a consuming addiction or a broken relationship with their Savior. And so many feel the need to keep their struggle hidden. The horror of a shame-ridden Christianity is not what God intended for us.

How can we encourage those who are struggling when we don’t offer up our own stories of struggle?

How can we invite the broken into the healing light of Christ if we aren’t taking our own brokenness to that light?

[bctt tweet="How can we invite the broken into the healing light of Christ if we aren’t taking our own brokenness to that light?" username="NicoleAKauffman"]

The Lie of Perfection

We live in a society where everyone is to put their best foot forward.

Weakness is frowned upon and struggles cause discomfort.

Upon entering church, we smile. We answer the expected when asked how we are.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered, “I’m good” when my world was crashing down.

I’ve plastered on a smile in the midst of grief and loneliness, just waiting for one genuine person to take a moment and invite me in.

And all the while, this lie of perfection that permeates our churches creates an atmosphere of shame.

[bctt tweet="This lie of perfection that permeates our churches creates an atmosphere of shame." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

As much as we want to share our stories, there is a shame to the dirty and wounded pasts that so many carry with them.

We must tear down this illusion of perfection.

There is a brokenness in all of us that needs to be addressed. There are pasts that need to be brought forth in order to be restored.

The Need to Share

So many Christians carry the burden of a painful past or a consuming addiction or a broken relationship with their Savior.

And so many feel the need to keep their struggle hidden.

The horror of a shame-ridden Christianity is not what God intended for us.

We must create an environment where the brokenhearted can share their pain. It is only when our pain is brought into the light that we can find true healing and restoration.

[bctt tweet="The horror of a shame-ridden Christianity is not what God intended for us." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

Everything exposed by the light becomes visible. Ephesians 5:13.

 

The horror of a shame-ridden Christianity is not what God intended for us.

It is our call to stand with our brothers and sisters and to help them to bring everything into the light of Christ.

Shame has no place in our hearts.

Therefore there is now no condemnation in Christ. -Romans 8:1

We must be vigilant to seek to love those who enter the doors of our churches.

We must drive out all judgement and hypocrisy and offer to carry each other’s burdens.

God asks many of His children to walk through painful times and to suffer for His name’s sake. But He promises to bring His glory and redemption into the painful moments of our lives.

Instead of being the voice of judgement in another’s time of struggle, we are to be the invitation to openness. And in that openness, Christ can work.

We can encourage those who are hiding in shame by speaking out and sharing our own stories.

We must begin to share our imperfections and our struggles and in doing so, we can share the true path to healing.

As Christians, we must take a stand against this lie of shame and the need to appear perfect.

We are surrounded by others whose worlds may be crashing down. We are surrounded by others who feel unloved, unworthy, broken.

[bctt tweet="We are surrounded by others who feel unloved, unworthy, broken." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

It is only when we rid our hearts and our churches of judgement and gossip that we can truly open the door to a Christ-centered call to love. 

And in doing so, we invite others to turn from brokenness and find healing.

FREE GIVEAWAY OF 10 DAYS TO LOVING YOUR SPOUSE WELL

To celebrate the release of my new eBook, I'm giving away 2 copies! I would love if you click through the giveaway below to enter. I will contact the winners next Monday! 🙂

1 Corinthians 13 Love Spouse Devotional

53 Comments

  1. Great message, Nicole! It’s why I think getting involved is so important. It’s too difficult to form real relationships with people during the weekly worship & message time. I love Bible studies, etc. where you can really get to know one another and share burdens, and like you said, “be the invitation to openness.”

    Glad you linked up at Literacy Musing Mondays! Blessings. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Brandi! I agree, smaller groups like bible studies can be much more inviting and safe to be open and vulnerable. πŸ™‚

  2. Ah Nicole, I am SO PASSIONATE about this very thing. You said it all so perfectly… I wish every churchgoing member could read this message.

    I’ll share it everywhere, with hopes we reach as many as we can with it.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing it, Christine. I am very passionate about this message as well. I needed to hear it at one point and so I know how important it is! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  3. Nicole
    You had my attention with your first sentence. Your words could not be more true, something I’m presently discovering as my husband and I lead a small group for married couples. As a church I pray we learn to lay down our preconceived ideas, put a side our judgemental ways and help each other heal.
    Love your post, thank you

    1. Love that, Lureta. I’m so glad you are striving to bring that authenticity into your church. In our leadership roles, we have such an opportunity! πŸ™‚

  4. “Instead of being the voice of judgement in another’s time of struggle, we are to be the invitation to openness. And in that openness, Christ can work.” Yes, yes, yes! As it says in James (I believe) when we confess our sins with one another we can be healed. Real fellowship is only possible when we are honest about our struggles and faith. Thank you for bringing this topic up.

    1. YES, it can be so hard when there are so many hiding behind walls. Thanks for visiting, Becky!

  5. Nicole, This is such an important message. It is so hard for us to be real, but there are lasting rewards in the healing we reap if we can do so. Thank you for this encouragement to be really watching and waiting for the opportunities God lays in front of us to be real and to reach out to someone else so that they can be transparent, too. So many others just need to know we understand. I’ve seen this kind of understanding and letting go of shame unveil in a group inside my wonderful church. It’s a beautiful thing. God is able!

  6. This is very, very true..you have written it so expressively and beautifully and it touches a core.
    I have been hit personally in this area so much that it led me to write a fiction story! There is so much internal pain in people, but they can’t share it for fear of rejection or judgment and this was not the way it was meant to be..

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Rita. How exciting that you have decided to write a fiction story! I love writing fiction myself πŸ™‚

  7. What a great topic. I can’t remember how many people I have heard use this as their excuse for not attending. I always viewed church as more of a hospital for sick and weary souls not a club for those who think their sinless. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Well written!

  8. Thank you for sharing this incredibly relevant and helpful post! I have retweeted this on my page. This was a wonderful read, and much needed in our world. God bless!

  9. Amen! Couldn’t agree more! I had to make a strong effort years ago to break my habit of saying “I’m fine” or “I’m well” when I’m truly not. I might not give as much detail to everyone but I will now say ” Things have been better but I’m trusting God one day at a time” or something and it helps! You never know who might take that home and offer up a prayer! OR who might say “you too??” and we can join together in the time of need πŸ™‚

    1. Great thoughts, Megan. Sometimes we have to discern how much detail to give, but opening the door to that honesty is key! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  10. Shaming others drives seekers away from Christ, too. It is not just within the church where false pride reigns in shaming, it’s in our evangelism. Such an important topic. We need to take the planks out of our eyes. Christ is our perfection!

  11. Amen! It’s hard to ‘be real’ with people when we fear they will judge us. I’m a recovering judger and judgee. It takes prayer and practice to quiet the ugly judge in my head that automatically nit-picks at people (and subsequently sours my attitude towards them without me even realizing it).

    1. Yes! The continual sanctification of the Holy Spirit within us. Sometimes it’s hard when I see myself falling backwards, but I know that the Holy Spirit is working in me to make me like Christ. So glad for your honesty here, Anita!

  12. Shame in churches is what drives so many people away. It’s a subject that’s often on my heart, thanks for writing about it.

    1. Thanks, Kristen. It has been deep on my heart the past few years as well. I’m glad for those who speak truth into it!

  13. Thank you for sharing such a relevant post. I too am guilty of saying “I’m good” when I’m anything but. Yet I can also wear my heart on my sleeve.

    I am so concerned for the generation of my daughter especially, young moms, whose Facebook statuses portray a perfect life, when it is anything but. How sad to put on a facade and to not be real.

    I so appreciated your insight into how can we show the redeeming power of our Savior if we aren’t willing to show what’s broken inside of us. It is in that brokenness that God’s redemption will bring Him all the Glory. It is in sharing our weaknesses, that we Glorify God the most. Because it is His strength alone that carries us.

    Great, edifying post.

    1. Yes, social media can be so dangerous in today’s culture. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. So much truth here πŸ™‚

  14. I agree, it would make such a difference if we could get better at being real with one another. I’ve seen the impact of that from both sides and it is so encouraging that as we do share, God can use our brokenness to help others heal.

    1. Definitely, Lesley. And He can give us the strength we need to be honest and vulnerable! It just takes courage πŸ™‚

  15. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to win the lost without being transparent. They need to know that you don’t have to be perfect to come to Jesus. They need to know that Christians are real people with real struggles.

    1. Yes, definitely, Marcee. And so many have skewed the idea of Christianity. This is the time we need to take a stand for what it really means to be a Christian. Thanks for your thoughts!

  16. I’ve been thinking about this lately, particularly the idea of vulnerability — we’re pretty adamant in the church about being vulnerable before God, but I come back to the fact that God is completely trustworthy, so there’s no risk involved with being vulnerable with God. However — with fellow Christians, the truth is that there plenty of risk. What I’m wondering is this: if we’re not owning our sin tendencies and coming clean before God, will we ever step up to the harder task of opening our lives to our sisters in Christ?

    Obviously, I don’t have an answer for this, but I’m certainly pondering the question on this Monday morning. Thanks for adding to the pondering.

    1. Great question to ponder, Michele. You are reminding me of the book Captivating and how deeply it addresses that struggle of vulnerability. But when we are secure in Christ, we can open up and be that life-giving vulnerability and transparency to others. (I love that book!) Thank you for your thoughts!

  17. I remember almost 20 years ago when I couldn’t play “church ” one more time. I longed for honesty and transparency, where people truly entered in to life with one another. We ended up leaving our church of 12 years, where we had raised our children, to another one that exampled this. What a difference that made! The humility we found in the other Believers truly impacted our faith and drew us in. I understand this desire well Nicole and you are so right in calling the church to honest fellowship with one another. We have to lay aside our judgements of others and recognize the only reason we are really doing this anyway is to make ourselves feel better about our own life.

    1. Such truth here, Gretchen. I’m sorry you had to experience that, but I’m so glad that you found a church with transparency. Laying aside judgement can be so hard, but it is SO important to living as God has called us to! Great to hear from you πŸ™‚

  18. Yes, I couldn’t agree more! This is one of my pet topics. It helps us to heal and others around us to feel less alone when we open up!

    1. Thanks, Chantelle. I agree, sometimes we have to be the first to be open! So glad you stopped by! πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy