The Importance Of Shame In The Church

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Sometimes, we faith followers make jokes about shame in our religions. Shame in the church is a common experience for many church members. Though, not every church has this sort of approach in discipleship and behavioral training. Shame has long been a pronounced interest to me. Most church leaders want the church to be a place of hope and inspiration, but some of us have experienced a tremendous amount of shame, also. Growing up within a very conservative John Wesley style holiness church taught me some life-giving valuable faith lessons. We were taught incredible lessons of living one?s life in a way that reflects one?s values and belief system and being empowered to express such values to others. Great lessons in humility and giving all glory to God abound. The church taught a person is best when honoring a holy lifestyle as best able on Earth, including prayer,
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Guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment most people are willing to talk about. Sometimes, we react with anger, laughter, or even sadness, but we are willing to tell someone our experience. Even though shame is universal to all people, the vast majority of people are not willing to talk about shame. The less we talk about shame, the more we have it. Dr. Brown illustrates shame growing in a ?petri dish.? The more secrecy, silence, and judgment, the more rapidly shame grows. She states that in the face of shame, we shrink as people. We allow ourselves to become small when facing shame. A person may not be able to attend that church any longer. The reason may not be how the people responded to this incident, but the story a person tells herself as she processes the many emotions she feels. Each person has a different level of shame resilience. When a congregation is living in shame, they become less than what God intended them to be or what they could
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