The online dictionary selections of a Google search will tell you that shame = guilt. From the Merriam-Webster: Shame; noun: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shame)
In Chapter One, the distinction that Heather Davis Nelson makes in her book Unashamed, is that “guilt is associated with actions while shame taints your entire identity.” She quotes Brené Brown: “The majority of shame researchers and clinicians agree that the difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the difference between ‘I am bad’ and ‘I did something bad’.”
She expands on this further, but that seems to cover the basics. Guilt is a healthy response to wrongdoing, where you know what you have done and realize and accept that you must undergo the consequences of your actions or words. Shame: “the feeling that we have missed the mark according to our own standard or our perception of someone else’s standard for us. Shame keeps us from being honest about our struggles, sins, and less-than-perfect moments. Fear of shame drives us to perfectionism in all areas of our life, so that there would be no imperfection to be noticed and judged. Shame is what we heap on others when they fail us.” (p.20)
Shame digs into your very being and instills in you this sense that everything you do and say – your very existence – deserves punishment. It is a waking purgatory for every wrong you have ever committed and, realizing this, we must therefore realize that shame is wrong.
This is the message that Nelson is trying to instill. Shame is wrong, and damaging, and rooted in brokenness. The only true way to healing is through the hope of Jesus Christ, who covers our shame like God covered Adam and Eve in the garden – Nelson returns to this image time and time again as a beautiful picture of what Christ can do for our brokenness.
Unashamed is a message of hope: “Healing our brokenness and finding freedom from shame”. Nelson divides her book in nine sections, aside from the introduction on what shame is, and the conclusion that ties together the shame-free destiny in store for all of us. She touches on body shame, performance shame, shame in marriage, parenting, and the church, and each section has discussion and reflection questions at the end for easing the reader into response. Aside from blaring fundamental truth from the loud speakers, Unashamed invites the reader into the beginnings of healing. This being the realization that everybody struggles with shame in one way or another.
I am in no way shame-free as a result of this book, but I am more acutely aware than ever of what is guilt and what is shame. Nelson helps the reader identify in their own life the kinds of things that they struggle with in shame, and identifying those elements is one of the keys to healing.
About the author:Heather Davis Nelson (MA, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a writer, counselor,and speaker. Heather writes regularly at HeatherDavisNelson.com and has been afeatured writer at the Gospel Coalition, as well as a contributing author to the Journal ofBiblical Counseling. She and her husband are parents to twin daughters and live insoutheastern Virginia.
Buy it!Interested to buy this book? Head over to this page: https://www.amazon.com/Unashamed-Healing-Brokenness-Finding-Freedom/dp/1433550709/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1464794647&sr=8-6&keywords=unashamed
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