Creflo Dollar - How to Get Victory Over Shame
If you have your Bibles here tonight, I'd like for you to join me in the book of Isaiah chapter 50. Isaiah chapter 50, verses 6 through 7. Tonight, I'm gonna deal with a subject that many people are familiar with and yet a whole lotta people are still being dominated by this thing, and we've got to find a way out. It's gotten to the point where even people in the ministry, the five-fold ministry gifts, are being attacked with this thing, and it is Satan's objective to try to rob you of the glory of the grace of God.
And that issue we're gonna deal with tonight is how to get victory over shame. I don't think you heard me. How to get victory over shame, because if you're not careful you can find that you will bow out and you won't allow God to use you like he planned on using you because you've allowed shame to stop you from going on the road and the course of your life that God has planned for you. And so, what the enemy wants to do is to shame you out of the blessings of God. He wants to shame you out of your calling. He wants to shame you out of your assignment, to get you in such a pit of shame that all you think about is just disappearing because you're so concerned about how others will see you.
And I wanna start off saying tonight that the answer to overcoming shame is Jesus. Jesus is the answer to overcoming shame, so I'm gonna start off with the answer tonight and then go and show you some things, some consequences of not dealing with it. In Isaiah chapter 55 and verse 6 and 7, I'm gonna read it out of the King James and the NIV, he said, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and from spitting. For the Lord God will help me," oh, I like that, "therefore shall I not be confounded," or disgraced or shamed, because the Lord will help me. And he says, "Therefore I've set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed".
Now, here is a prophecy here. There is a prophecy concerning Jesus here, and this issue of shame was going to be defeated because Jesus became the shame over the issue of rejection. He became the shame over the issue of all of your sins and all of my sins. He became the shame so that whatever he became, ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to carry it out and there are a lotta people who look at this area of shame and over a period of time didn't even know what to call it. You knew just, "Something was wrong with me, something was going on. I just couldn't put my finger on that thing. You know, I wanted to step out and do what God called me to do, but these feelings of shame that would come and somehow stop me," and I'm telling you right now in the name of Jesus you will not be hindered, blocked, or stopped by that spirit of shame. And I mean it starts tonight, praise God? Your freedom starts tonight.
Well, let's give a definition to it, and I'll give several as we go on, but let's start off with this. Shame is a sense of failure before the eyes of someone. It is the intense pain of feeling unworthy, the intense pain of feeling disconnected, the intense pain of feeling unlovable before people and in some cases before God. This pain, this feeling of unworthiness, this feeling of disconnected, not belonging, this feeling of maybe unlovable, and it's the sense of failure in the eyes of someone else.
Now, sometimes we confuse guilt with shame. How many of you have experienced guilt in your life before? That's everybody in the room and everybody watching by television. Well, I wanna make a distinction between guilt and shame so that we can really zero in on this issue tonight. Now, most people define guilt and shame the same way, but I want you to listen to this. Guilt is seeing what you've done, but shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you've done. Guilt is feeling bad about what you do, but shame is feeling bad about who you are. Guilt is an awareness of failure against a particular standard or code of conduct or the Word, you know, but shame is a sense of failure before the eyes of someone. Guilt is about disobedience to a law or a code or a standard, but shame is how I perceive others see me and how I see myself as a result of it.
Guilt says, "I made a mistake, so I must confess it to get it off my chest". But shame says, "I am a mistake, so I must hide it so others don't find out about it". And see, that's what perfects phoniness in church. That's why people have perfected phoniness in church, because it's an opportunity to cover and to hide so you won't find out about it. Well, somebody says, "I hear what you're saying, but I'm not sure if I still wanna deal with this issue of shame".
Well, there are consequences for not dealing with this issue of shame in your life. For instance, number one: shame, if you don't deal with it, can lead to paranoia. It will lead to excessive perfectionism, or it can leave a person as nothing but a doormat and that person will begin to allow himself to be exploited by other people. You know, when you meet somebody that's, you know, been shamed by something, this person is walking around thinking that everybody knows about it, even if they don't know about it. They'll get out the car and go to the grocery store and there'll be such shame that they feel like everybody they pass knows about what happened to them. It will bring about a sense of paranoia or this excessive perfectionism and now you're careful to look at everything that you're doing out of shame and make sure you just got everything down.
And I tell you what, that's gonna drive you to drink more than Kool-Aid. I guarantee you. Shame ties you to the past, and it sabotages your future. It's like a rope that's tied to something in the past. It's tied to that event, it's tied to that issue, and if you stay tied to the past you're gonna only be able to go so far in the future, because you keep referring back to what's happened in your past. And like I said before, we all have a past, but we don't live there anymore, or we shouldn't live there anymore. Shame is designed to extinguish your hope, to try to wipe it all out, man, to try to put before your life this sense of hopelessness, and you're just still stuck on everything that you're tied to in the past.
Shame is a weight. It's a burden that people carry and, ladies and gentlemen, that is not the freedom that Jesus died and shed his blood for you to have, and I'm telling you it's time to take the scissors out, the saw out, whatever you gotta take out, and you gotta cut that rope, and you've gotta let that past be the past, and you've got to go forward because God's got something that he has anointed and appointed you to do, and you're not gonna let shame stop you from doing that, amen?
You know, if you go to Genesis chapter 3 and verse 8 and 10 we see this same spirit attacking Adam and Eve. You know, God told 'em, "You know, don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because the day you eat of it you'll surely die," and, you know, they lost the glory. They lost the very coat of glory that covered their nakedness. You know, Adam and Eve, they were not exposed because the glory of God prevented that, but when they lost the coat of glory they were naked of that coat and look what he said here in verse 8.
Genesis chapter 3, verse 8, "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees of the garden". And then, in verse 10, "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden", because the Lord came, and he says, "Where art thou"? He says, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself". Now, listen to this and don't ever forget it. Shame can only control you and define who you are if you have a fear of it. It can only control you and define who you are if you have a fear of shame.
Now, listen to what I'm saying here. You know, here is Adam and Eve. They heard exactly what God said to do, and they knew they had violated that agreement, and they were now afraid. Afraid of what? "Well, I'm naked now. He's gonna know that we didn't do what he asked us to do. He's gonna know we violated the agreement. Maybe he'll reject us. Maybe he won't love us anymore. Maybe all of this relationship, you know, he's not willing to do. Maybe we've got to go back to self-effort. Maybe we need to go ahead and cover ourselves". And that's where they got the fig leaves, because, "I'm not really sure. I'm afraid that God might not cover us again".
Ladies and gentlemen, don't be afraid of shame. Because you know what happens? You'll hide yourself just like they did and that's happening in churches all over America. They come to church and guess where they get a double dose of shame? Right at church. "You didn't pray for an hour last night, you ought to be ashamed of yourself for not spending time with God". "What? You got a divorce? You ought to be ashamed of yourself". "What? You missed the mark, and you what? You ought to be ashamed of yourself".
Ladies and gentlemen, don't do that, because there are a thousands of people, even probably more than that, who are hiding away from the church because they're afraid they're gonna be shamed when they come in and that should not be said of the house of God. That the house of God is a hospital for people who have gone through all kinds of stuff and where they ought to be able to come here and see a loving face, to get a hug, to be reminded that because of the grace of God they're still the righteousness of God, and you still love 'em, and you still believe in 'em, and you're still there for them. They should not have to come to the house of God and there receive more shame.
I wonder how many people are hiding tonight. "Maybe it's more convenient to watch it on the stream because they might reject me. I'm not like everybody else. Oh, I've had two or three divorces, and I'm sure everybody in the church knows about it". You are not that important, first of all, and everybody in the church doesn't know about it, okay? Look at Ephesians. Look what he says here. Let this bring some encouragement to you. Ephesians chapter 1, verses 6 through 7. He says, "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted," where? "In the beloved".
See, you're accepted in the beloved, and I think that's the first place you've got to receive acceptance. Sometimes you work so hard to try to be accepted by everybody else and you've not even settled the fact that "God has accepted me". And look what he says in verse 7. He says, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace". This grace is unmerited, undeserved favor. It is God's grace that is saying that "I'm gonna give you what you don't deserve".
And you may think, "I don't deserve for somebody to love me. I don't deserve for somebody to care about me," but, honey, let me tell you in this generation of God's grace you don't get what you deserve. You get what you don't deserve, and we have an abundance of undeserved favor that God is ready to pour into your life if you can come and receive it. You know, what it should be like, you know, in James chapter 5:16 he talks to us about confessing your faults one to another, and he's not saying confess your faults one to another so you can be judged, so you can be shamed, so you can be beat up, so that you can in a sense, you know, meet somebody who now all of a sudden become self-righteous and he wants to measure his standard of life with what you're doing.
And let me tell you something about self-righteous people. Self-righteous people always wanna find fault with other folk. Are you listening to me? Self-righteous people always wanna look and say, "Well, at least I'm not like them". I mean, the time you start measuring yourself with somebody else and decide, "Well, you know, they did this. At least I didn't do that," well, you've done something else. You become self-righteous and self-righteousness is unrighteousness. Are you listening to what I'm saying?
And so, he didn't say confess your faults to one another so you can get beat up. The idea here is to confess your faults one to another so that they can remind you of your identity in Christ Jesus, so when you confess your faults you've got somebody there who loves you enough, watch this, to cover you. We don't do that in church no more. We're not trying to cover you. We're trying to call the first person we can reach on our cellphone and tell them what you did, because some people really get, kind of, excited when somebody who's been living right falls. I don't know what it is. It makes them feel better about themselves when they see that you've been messed up and shameful people, people who have been shamed and haven't resolved their shame, will try to shame you.
Whatever happened to, "Let me cover my brother. Let me build you up. Come on, let me take you somewhere so I can sit and preach to you and tell you you're the righteousness of God and to tell you that you've been redeemed and to tell you that you have wisdom and to tell you that you're sanctified, and you're holy, and God loves you, and he forgave you 2,000 years ago". And he took your sins, and he threw it as far as the east is from the west, and God is a God who's not mad at you. He's not in a bad mood. He is ready to release his favor on you. He's ready to pick up where you left off.
You don't have to be ashamed. Stand up, dust yourself off, and run on and see what the end is gonna be. That's why I confess my fault, but now here is the deal: but now as a result of not seeing that in church, people are just like, "No, I'll just keep it to myself, 'cause I've seen what those church folks like. No, I'm gonna keep that to myself". "No, you need to go ahead and talk about it so you can get rid of it". "No, I'd rather just handle it on my own, 'cause I met somebody who went to somebody, and they told 'em, and then that somebody told somebody else and before they could get home it was all in the middle of the street".
And, you know some of the biggest gossipers are preachers. That's not why he wants us to confess our faults to one another, but so we can get built up. And then, some people say, "Well, I just don't feel like being preached to right now". You need to be preached to. Don't you have that kinda attitude talking about you don't wanna be preached to right now. You need to hear the Word. You don't need to be around somebody, you know, your level of deliverance is gonna depend on who you're hanging around. Don't hang around folks that don't know nothing. Hang around somebody that's got the Word of life. Hang around somebody that's gonna preach to you whether you wanna hear it or not. Hang around somebody that's gonna get you fired up and just yank that spirit of shame off you until you find yourself standing up in the bed declaring, "I'm the righteousness of God, and I'm not gonna be shamed". Amen?
Now, let's examine some instances of battling shame and see what we can pull out of it. Let's begin first of all, show you some Scriptures before we do. Isaiah chapter 54. In Isaiah 54 let's look at verse 4 out loud. Isaiah 54. Well, we can't look at it out loud, but I'm gonna speak, and then you're gonna hear it out loud. I just thought about that. I said, "You can't look at anything out loud".
Look what he says chapter 54, verse 4. "Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded," or disgraced. "For thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood anymore". This was being preached to someone who was a widow, and she was being encouraged not to stay stuck in this thing of shame. Now, I need you to say this out loud with me. "In the name of Jesus I will not be put to shame. No more shame".
Now, let me show you something in Proverbs. This was real interesting. Proverbs chapter 11:2. Let's notice the inner workings here of this. Proverbs 11:2 and verse 2 says, "When pride cometh," when pride cometh, "then cometh," what? Wow! When pride cometh, then after pride what? Mmm. Pride, of course, is this overestimation of oneself, but I wanna take it a little deeper here. It is your unwillingness to submit to God's way and God's Word. Now, you have a choice to either humble yourself or submit yourself unto God's way and God's Word. You have a choice to do that, but if you don't humble yourself and submit yourself to God's Word and God's way you could find yourself being humiliated.
Now, under pride you will probably see some humiliation and that's gonna be painful and shameful when you put yourself in that position to go through that. A prideful man says, "I'm gonna do it my way, like I wanna do it, how I wanna do it, and I'm not concerned about God's way and how he wants to do it". And he says you know what? A lotta times the shame is gonna show up because you made a decision to operate in pride. You're not interested in what God had to say, you're not interested in what has been made available to you about it, and you won't submit yourself to it. And so, what happens is shame now cometh as a result of pride, and so the prayer we need to pray is, "Lord, help me not to ever be living in pride and not know it".