3 Dangerous Defenses That Block Victory Over Guilt and Shame

by | Dec 23, 2019 | Spiritual Warfare

Past regrets, peoples’ cruel words or present struggles can all tend to make us feel not good enough, unlovable or unusable. We’ve all experienced at least one of these feelings a time or two.

But given enough consistency, these feelings often become so ingrained in us that we take them on as an identity. Instead of only feeling bad, we believe the bad feeling is who we are. This is shame.

While shame seems to be at an all-time high these days, it’s certainly nothing new. And neither are its effects. Just as it was in the beginning, unresolved shame is still one of the ultimate destroyers of destiny.

Shame in Eden

After the first couple succumbed to the first temptation, they were met with knowledge of their evil. This was the original experience of guilt. This guilt, however, didn’t lead them to repentance. No, I imagine the enemy was right there with his usual interpretations of what their failure meant: “God can’t love you anymore! God can’t be with you anymore!” (Ever heard one of those?)

Regardless of just how the devil did it, the Bible reveals, “At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness” (Gen. 3:7a, NLT). It then goes on to detail what they did that only made things worse— “defenses” that we blindly continue today with the same dangerous consequences. Do you recognize any of the following in your life?

Defense No. 1: Covering

With the newfound awareness of their fallen condition, the first couple “sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves” (v. 7b). In other words, they constructed a means to mask what felt wrong about themselves.

Don’t we do the same? Sure, we no longer sew fig leaves together, but we do have our own means of concealing what we fear about ourselves. These often look like overachievement, over-working or the stuff of addictions. We turn to these modern fig leaves to forget our flaws or appear as if we don’t have any.

But there’s a danger in covering with fig leaves. That’s because fig leaves contain an enzyme that reacts against human skin, causing quite the rash. What Adam and Eve didn’t immediately realize is that they covered their pain with more pain. Our figurative fig leaves do the same. We put pain on top of pain, which creates a vicious cycle that just produces more shame.

Defense No. 2: Hiding

The first couple became so afraid of what their failure meant about them that they couldn’t face their Creator. “So they hid from the Lord God among the trees” (Gen. 3:8).

Out of all the defenses, this one might be the most common. That’s because shame instills a fear that if people really know our failures or our weaknesses, they will reject us. So instead of facing the pain of rejection, in one way or another, we hide the source of our fears.

Sometimes our defense of hiding looks like social isolation. Rather than allow people to really get to know us, we retreat to places where no one can prod, perhaps inside books or behind screens. Other times we hide in plain sight. We’re happy to be social about our ideologies and professions, but we put up great walls to keep people (even loved ones) from getting too close to our souls.

For those in hiding, real intimacy and vulnerability—the bedrocks of relationship—are never allowed. Consequently, we remain in isolation, which only adds to the shame.

Defense No. 3: Blaming

Finally, when God asked Adam and Eve, “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” (v. 11), they both resorted to finger pointing. Adam blamed Eve: “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit” (v. 12). Eve put it all on the devil: “The serpent deceived me” (v. 13).

This age-old blame game is yet another way many cope with their shame today. It’s believed that if we pass the buck of our pain onto society, politics, biology or how we were raised or treated, then we’ll avoid responsibility and thus avoid the pain. But it doesn’t work that way.

While it might be true that what you face wasn’t the result of your own choosing, a victim mentality only enslaves you to shame. Lasting healing happens when you finally deal with a wound, regardless of how it got there.

First Step to Victory

As you see, the danger in these defenses is that, in their own ways, they each keep us bound to shame. But I know that’s not where you want to be.

So, can you confess to using any of these defenses in your own life? If so, then be encouraged! Admitting your reality is a significant first step toward victory.

(Need help beating shame? Check out my audio series, Shame Busters: 3 Steps to Living at Peace with God and Yourself.) {eoa}

Kyle Winkler (www.kylewinkler.org) is the creator of the popular Shut Up, Devil! mobile app. His latest book is Activating the Power of God’s Word: 16 Strategic Declarations to Transform Your Life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Kingdom Economics: How Godly Traditions Convey Kingdom Truths

Kingdom Economics: How Godly Traditions Convey Kingdom Truths

Read Time: 3 Minutes 53 Seconds WalletHub estimates 97% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and were expected to spend $835 million on Thanksgiving turkeys for last week’s holiday. More than 50 million people were expected to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on...

The Hidden Antisemitism of Misappropriation of Scripture

The Hidden Antisemitism of Misappropriation of Scripture

Read Time: 4 Minutes 49 Seconds I know that what I am writing in my blog today will cause some people discomfort. Others will become angry and still others will choose to stop reading my blogs and articles. Yet, knowing that there is a danger of the above happening,...

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

RECENT ARTICLES

ORU’s President Dr. Billy Wilson Shares Strategy to Reach 8 Billion for Christ

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The world population just surpassed 8 billion people and a group of emboldened followers of Jesus have set on a mission to reach the world with the message of...
The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises serious questions about free speech in America and has ramifications for...

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFbfS03JkKY&t=1s Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest