Shame is the fear of not being loved nor accepted. It occurs when our identity is challenged and the value we receive from that identity is interrupted. There is much research on shame and its affects on our relationships.
Consensus seems to be that shame, while it is the most common emotion, is not adaptive or natural. It is destructive.
In that the Bible agrees. Shame is a product of the fall. Like earthquakes, death, and the weeds that choke your vegetable garden, it is not natural; shame is not part of God’s original, very good design.
It emanates from the broken image within us.
Without Christ, the best that can be done is to cover our shame. That is why we develop identities. It is our best effort to repair our own brokenness and develop a source of security, comfort and significance. But, because of the daily challenges to and the subjective nature of identity, this is not an effective solution. Shame breaks through the self-constructed shell.
The covering for our shame must be secure – unchanging. That is the solution offered in Christ. The Truth of Christ does not change; He will not leave nor forsake those in Him and He does not show favoritism.
If shame is felt by the follower of Christ, that is indication that the false self has allowed something to be added to Christ. It is the opportunity to examine our hearts and re-center in Christ. That is the battle of the old nature and new promised by the apostle Paul – part of God’s plan to chip away at our heart and reform our broken image.
While shame is not natural, nor adaptive, knowing when we are experiencing it can allow us to know when we are trusting in something other than Christ. Then we can put that part of our self to death.
His perfect love casts out the fear of not being loved nor accepted. There is no shame in Christ because the source of acceptance is secure, not based on our performance or results – but based on Christ’s performance on our behalf.