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EP. 183 Where Did Shame Begin?

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Welcome back to the Hope Rescue Podcast after our three week holiday break. Before our break, we started a new series on the concept of shame. Today we are discussing where shame began, but make sure you go back to episodes 181 & 182 to catch the entire series.

The "Compass of Shame" model developed by psychiatrist Donald Nathanson describes four coping strategies that individuals may use to deal with feelings of shame:

"Withdrawal": This coping strategy involves withdrawing from social situations or relationships in order to avoid experiencing shame. This might include avoiding social events, disconnecting from others, or becoming isolated and alone.

"Attack Self": This coping strategy involves turning inward and directing negative self-talk or self-criticism towards oneself. This might include self-blame, self-hatred, or self-destructive behavior.

"Attack Others": This coping strategy involves projecting one's own shame onto others and attacking them in some way. This might include blame, criticism, or aggression towards others.

"Avoidance": This coping strategy involves avoiding or denying feelings of shame, either by distracting oneself or by pretending that the shame-inducing event or situation did not happen. This might include avoidance behaviors such as substance abuse, escapism, or denial.

According to Nathanson, these coping strategies are often used to protect ourselves from the perceived threat of shame. However, they can also be destructive and unhealthy, and may actually serve to perpetuate feelings of shame in the long run. Understanding and acknowledging these coping strategies can help individuals to recognize and address their own feelings of shame in a healthier way.

Where Did Shame Begin?

Shame began with the very first humans. Before Adam and Eve ever sinned, they did not feel shame. They were naked together in the Garden of Eden, and shame wasn’t on their radar. After they sinned, shame entered the picture.

GEN. 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”

Did you know that the practice of covering ourselves came instantly as a result of sin?

GEN. 3:10-11 “He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

When we feel shame today, we also cover ourselves, but just as in the case with Adam and Eve, the covering is not the solution. Even once Adam was covered, he continued to hide from God because of the shame he felt from his sin. Instead of covering ourselves with fig leaves when we feel shame, we may cover ourselves with alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, sexual deviancy, or even toxic defensiveness.

Thankfully, God has made a way, through the sacrifice of His Son, for us to approach Him with confidence and without shame. We don’t have to hide or cover ourselves from God, or walk in the shame of our past mistakes. We can walk in freedom knowing Jesus has already paid the price for our sins.

Tune in next week as we continue our series on the concept of shame.

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