My first trip to Africa was awful. I had been invited to join dignitaries, influential business people and key pastors on a mission. From the moment I landed, I felt out of place. When we arrived at our lodgings, we were asked to congregate in the lounge.
Our host went around the room introducing us one by one. When she reached me, she announced: “This is Pastor Jo. She has issues.” I could not believe what I heard. The blood drained from my face as I tried to maintain my composure.
The room was filled with highly successful people who must have wondered what terrible dysfunction could have prompted such a description. In any setting it would have been a dishonoring introduction. Surrounded by intimidating strangers, it felt like a cruel blow.
PULLED TO PIECES
I could not fathom why I was singled out like that. I smiled extremely awkwardly and then said hello to everyone. The conversation moved on. In seven short words, our host publicly pulled me to pieces. I felt like humiliated.
King David went through many public put downs. He aptly describes the impact that humiliation can have on our hearts: “I’m broken by their taunts, flat on my face, reduced to a nothing…” Psalms 69:20 (MSG). But because David talked about the pain of humiliation with God in prayer, he was able to rise up again strong.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Have you ever been ridiculed at school or at work and made to feel that your best efforts were inadequate? Have you made a mistake in front of others and wished that the ground would swallow you up? Have you failed when you knew you should have succeeded?
Have you been mocked because you didn’t get the joke that made all your peers laugh? Have you been put down in front of people whose opinions were important? Have you been assaulted in a way that left you feeling utterly degraded?
Have you been smeared by those you trusted? You may have experienced worse: a home where shame was used as correction; a school where humiliation was deployed as punishment; or a relationship where abuse was used to control you.
Picture a place where everyone wears white. Now imagine a man walks in with a paint gun, splattering disgrace in every direction. Shame marks us. It makes us feel smeared. It almost always causes us to want to shrink back and hide.
We see shame ruining lives in the Bible. King Saul was derailed by a deep sense of inadequacy. King David’s daughter Tamar was disabled by the shame of abuse. Leah was crushed by constant comparison and devastating rejection.
Their stories are told in scripture so that you & I can tell a different story. After that introduction in Africa, I poured out my pain like water before the Lord (Lam 2:19). He healed my heart and I returned to the group restored & ready to be courteous & gracious.
The enemy uses shame to make us hide or slow down. He tries to get us to turn away from our destiny. That is why we need to be healed. My new book The Many Faces of Shame is important for everyone. Order your copy from amazon.
Don’t stop there though. Please allow the Lord to heal all the hurts in your heart so that you can rise strong and fulfil your God-given destiny. UK & US people, book onto our life changing two day event Healed for Life. You will never be the same again.