Jimmy Evans - How to Overcome Shame
How to recognize shame. Now, if someone would have come up to me and said, "Do you have shame in your life"? I would have said, "No". Now, Karen did. She would have just said, "Yeah". She had dealt with shame all of her life. Someone came up to me and said, "Do you have shame"? I would have said, "No". I was full of shame, but I didn't know how to recognize it, and I certainly didn't know how to deal with it.
Here's how to recognize shame.
1) Fear of exposure and intimacy. You're afraid of someone finding out who you really are. This is fig leaves. This is Adam and Eve.
2) Never feeling like you do well enough. Being driven by performance and perfectionism. I lived most of my life that way.
3) Being devastated by criticism.
I'm not saying being bothered by criticism, because all of us don't like criticism. I'm talking about it disables you. Criticism from people. Being overly critical of ourselves or others. Extremes of bitterness and rage and compliance and pleasing people. In other words, I'm talking about in one day or in one hour, we go from rage of being just enraged against people who make us feel bad about ourselves and then turn around and try to please people. Being primarily motivated by what other people think. I'm not saying caring about what other people think. I'm saying it's why you live your life. You are controlled by what other people think.
We dealt with a tragedy recently, and when we got involved in the inner workings of this tragedy, what we found out was this family that had been involved in this horrible tragedy didn't want anyone to know they had problems. And they had worked for years to try to make sure that no one knew they had problems. They had horrific problems going on in their home. But they were so afraid of what other people might think, and I'm sure that there was shame involved in that. Being primarily motivated by fear. The fear of failure, fear of rejection.
And again, it's not just saying having some fear. I'm saying it's the motivation for what we do. Under performing to avoid risk. It's "I don't want to be successful. I don't want to have, you know, an exposure of making myself fail and then feeling shame over it or people seeing who I really am". Self-hate and self-deprecation. Just, you feel bad about yourself and you're always cutting yourself down. Measuring your value and that of others by how well you perform. We all want to do our best. We all want to perform well, but our self-esteem should be measured in different terms. Rejecting or not associating with others who don't measure up. Those are just some of the ways that we can see in ourselves that we're motivated by shame.
And again, I want to say almost all of us have these things. In fact, I believe every person has shame in their lives to some extent that we have to deal with. It's a human condition. It was the original thing that came into the human race because of sin. So, the first animal that we need to understand this issue of shame is the serpent in the garden. It always comes from the devil. Shame and condemnation and shame never come from God. They always come from the devil. God cannot function in an atmosphere of shame. Satan cannot function unless shame is present.
Every single year the children of Israel were commanded on the day of atonement, God would atone for their sins with 2 goats. And he told Aaron, "Take these 2 goats, cast lots, and the one on which the Lord's lot falls, bring him into the tabernacle and sacrifice him there for the sins of Israel. Their sins will be forgiven. But there's another goat. On this other goat, I want Aaron to lay his hands on the head of this goat and pronounce over this goat all the sins and transgressions of Israel. Every single sin and transgression is gonna be pronounced upon this goat. This goat is gonna then carry those sins and a suitable man will take that goat in the sight of all of Israel and take that goat out into an uninhabited place, and that goat will bear the sins of Israel away from all the people".
And you say, "Well, why did it take 2 goats to take care of sin"? It didn't. It only took one goat to take care of sin between Israel and God. The other goat was not about sin. It was about shame. God didn't want shame in the camp. He wanted the children of Israel to know not only had they been forgiven, but God had forgotten about the sin. And he didn't want shame in any way affecting their self-esteem, their relationship with each other, or their relationship with him. So he had a visual symbol of shame being taken out of the camp. Aaron laid his hands on this goat. When that goat walked out of the camp, they knew their sin was gone. God has not only taken care of our sin. God has taken care of our shame, because we cannot function as the people of God when shame still exists.
It's one thing to know that we've been forgiven, but it's an entirely different thing to know that we have no shame before God. And I've got some good news to you. Jesus is our scapegoat. Jesus isn't just the Lamb of God who took away our sin. Jesus is our scapegoat. Jesus has taken away all of our shame, too. And let me tell you the wonderful thing about God. God can not only forgive our sin, he can forget our sin. Listen to the language of Isaiah 53 in a little different way now that you know that Jesus is your scapegoat. This is talking about Jesus.
"He is despised and rejected by men. A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him. He was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all".
Leviticus 16:22, God said, "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities". Isaiah 53:6, "And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all". I want you to understand that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, all of our sins were pronounced upon Jesus and he became our scapegoat, and in the presence of the world, God didn't just heal us of our sin issue. He healed us of our shame issue at the same time. And so, now, we can be completely free of the issue of shame. Listen to this. A naked man related to a tree brought shame into the world. And a naked man related to a tree took shame out of the world. Jesus Christ was the second Adam. And in his nakedness and in his shame he took our shame away, so now we can live and function completely and totally without shame.
Let's talk about how to overcome shame. 5 steps.
Number 1, be naked. Without shame. Don't take your clothes off. I'm talking figuratively. Some of you are just waiting to get free in here this morning, but... Be naked. We can be who we really are. We don't have to hide. Let me say this: Jesus, when he came to this world, he had no problems with sinners. He had problems with dishonest religious people. You never see in the Bible Jesus having a problem with a person that was a sinner and was honest about it. But what Jesus had a problem with were people who tried to hide who they really were. Because Jesus has removed our shame, we can be who we really are and live in the light.
This is 1 John 1:5, "This is the message which we have heard from him and declare to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and the word isn't in us".
And see, not only have we sinned, we just live in a constant state of being less than we ought to be. You know, we should be here and we're here. You know the good news? Jesus made up the difference. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin so that we can be the righteousness of God in Christ. Now, what it means is, I don't have to play games. I don't have to pretend to be something I'm not. God loves me anyway. He loves me in my imperfections. He loves me anyway. He just wants me to get naked and to stop hiding from him.
Can I tell you something, by the way? And let me don't shock anyone, but do you know that God can see through fig leaves? I mean, Adam and Eve put on fig leaves thinking that they were going to fool God. God has X-RAY vision. I've got some news for you this morning. He can see through everything. You can't hide from God. You can't hide from God. And he's saying to us God exists in the light and in him there's no darkness at all. And if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with him and each other. But if we say we have no sin, we're lying. And we're deceiving ourselves. Not only have I sinned, but I live in a constant state of not measuring up to God. I may measure up to other people, but I don't measure up to God. And he's fine with that. God can deal with that.
This is the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12. It's concerning a thorn in the flesh. We don't know what it was. Some people think it was an eye issue because of a comment that was made in the Book of Galatians. Maybe just a demon spirit or whatever. But he says in 2 Corinthians 12, "Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord 3 times that it might depart from me. And he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness'. Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong".
You see, the apostle Paul was a pharisee of pharisees, raised to be a hypocrite. Raised to be a pretender. To be this perfect religious person always performing, and something happened to him, it was a thorn in the flesh, and it was something that kept him from being the person that he wanted to be, and he went to God and said, "God, take this thing away", and God said, "Sorry, Paul. You're just going to have to depend on my grace. For my power is made perfect in your weakness".
You can jump in his lap at the throne of grace and he can enjoy you with all of your imperfections. You don't have to play games with God. He's a real God and he's ok with us. Isn't that good news? And when we need him the most, we deserve him the least. When I need him, I don't deserve him. When I deserve him, I don't need him. And that's exactly why Satan wants to put shame on us, because when you're living in shame, you can't go to God.
Here's what shame says: get your act together, then you can talk to him. Well, I can't get my act together until I talk to him. When you're living in shame, you're living apart from God. There is no power in shame. There is no grace in shame. There is no freedom in shame. It's a prison that keeps us in the prison of our sins. And we cannot be set free until not just we're forgiven, but the shame goes away and we understand it's gone. God removes it from our lives and he's ok with us. There's no reproach there. There's no fear there. Remember, Adam and Eve hid because they were fearful of God. You don't have to fear God. He loves you just the way you are right now.
Second step of being free from shame is take responsibility for your behavior and don't blame other people. Get honest. Get naked before God. And the people close around you. Stop pretending. And the second thing is, take responsibility for your behavior. Adam and Eve hid themselves with fig leaves and then God walked up to them and said, "Adam, what is this you've done"? Here's what Adam said: "Eve made me do it". It's that, men still say it all the time right now. It's that woman that you gave me. She's my problem. And then God went to Eve and said, "Eve, what is this that you've done"? And she said, "The devil made me do it".
Ok, now listen to me. This is an important principle. They were both telling the truth. Eve was the one that talked to the devil first, and she was the one that ate first and then gave the apple to Adam, but Adam was a big boy. He didn't have to eat. Even though Eve did all those things, it wasn't her fault. It was his fault. And then Eve told the truth, too. The devil did tempt her. The devil was party to her eating that fruit. The only problem was, she was still responsible for her actions.
Now listen to me. If you don't take responsibility for your behavior and trust Jesus to forgive you and remove the shame, you will find a scapegoat and it will not work. God did not accept Eve as Adam's scapegoat. See, Adam turned and confessed his sins over Eve and made her bear 'em. And Eve turned and laid her hands on the devil and tried to make him bear 'em. Many people go through life and their parents are their scapegoat. "Yeah, I know I messed up, but you should have seen my parents. They did this to me". Your brothers and sisters are your scapegoat. Your friends, your principal, your church you came out of, the government. You lay your hands every time someone asks you about the problems that you have, you're very open about confessing your problems.
But the problem is, when it comes to taking responsibility, you lay hands on your husband, you lay hands on your wife, you lay hands on your parents, you lay hands on the government, and you confess your sins over them, and you think that someone is going to accept that. God doesn't accept it. Regardless of what life has done to us, we can rise above our circumstances and do better than people did to us. The government is not my problem. My parents are not my problem. Sin is my problem and God will help me if I'll take responsibility for what I'm doing right now. The only scapegoat that God recognizes is Jesus Christ the righteous. He's the only one. And he will not bear our sins until we take responsibility and get honest about our behavior.
Number 3, believe you are forgiven and that the sin and shame have been removed by Jesus. How do you know that you're forgiven of your sins? Well, I just have to put faith in the Bible. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". The word "Confess" there is the Greek word "Homolegeo". Two words. "Homo", H-O-M-O means "Same", and "Legeo" means "Word". Same word. If we will just say what God is saying about our behavior. If we'll just tell the truth about our behavior, he'll take away our sins. I believe that by faith. That he's taken away my sin.
And then here's what Psalm 103 says. "The Lord is merciful and gracious". Aren't you glad? "Slow to anger". Aren't you glad? "And abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will he keep his anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward those who fear him: as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him. For he knows our frame: he remembers that we are but dust".
Isn't that a wonderful scripture? As far as the east is from the west. Now, let me tell you the ability that God has that we don't have. He has the ability to forget. As people, we remember things, and when someone does something to us, we can forgive that person, but we still remember. God can forget. As far as the east is from the west. He removes our sin. The shame is completely gone. And here's what this means. When we come to God and we confess our sins and take responsibility for our behavior and say, "God, I've done this and this and this and this and this, and I know that it's wrong and I know that it's affected our relationship because I've taken too long to get honest and to repent of my sins. And, Lord, I pray that you would forgive me". God says, "I do forgive you. By the blood of my Son, you're forgiven, and not only are you forgiven, but I put it away as far as the east is from the west".
In the next moment of time, you say, "Well, Lord, let me talk to you about that sin". The Lord says, "What sin? I don't know what you're talking about. My relationship with you is... I don't remember anything. For all of eternity, it's gone forever". His behavior to you is just like a person who completely forgot what you did. You're favored. You're loved. You don't have to carry the shame.
The opposite of that is someone who never forgets and never lets you forget. And every time you do something wrong they say, "Remember it". That's what the devil comes and does. Remember? Remember your moral failure? Remember your abortion? Remember when you stole that thing? Remember your divorce? Remember what you did? Remember what you said? And he wants you to go back and constantly have to graze through all the problems of your past. And that's not the Spirit of God, because the Spirit of God, when it's forgiven, it's forgotten and he never remembers it again for all of eternity. It's never brought back up. Somebody say, "Amen". And we believe that by faith.
Number 4, refuse a spirit of shame and condemnation when Satan attacks you and fight him with the blood and the word. He's gonna attack you. Every day, every time you do something wrong, condemnation and shame, he's going to attack you so that he can keep you away from God, he can make you feel like a failure and keep you from relating to other people in a right way.
Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit". There is no con... You fight him with the word. It says that Jesus despised the shame. Mentally. Jesus fought mentally against the shame. We've got to learn to take the Word of God and fight Satan with the Word of God. Listen to what it says here. This is revelation chapter 12, verse 10. "I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come. For the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down'. And they overcame him".
This is us. This is a picture of us in heaven some day. And Satan is cast down. The accuser of the brethren. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives unto death". How do we overcome Satan? By the blood of the Lamb.
And someone told me many years ago, and it works every time. When Satan begins to talk to you about your sin and try to condemn you and put shame on you, just begin to praise Jesus for his blood. He'll stop it every time. Satan hates the name of Jesus and he hates the mention of the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is what cancelled out our sins and defeated Satan. Satan hates it. Demon spirits cannot stand the presence of praise and worship and the mention of Jesus and his blood.
And so, when you're being ministered to by demon spirits, shame and condemnation, you just raise up your voice by faith and you begin to quote the Word of God and you begin to thank Jesus for his blood and what he's done for you. It defeats Satan every single time. You gotta fight it. You gotta war against it. You can't let it get into your head. And if it's in your head, you've gotta take that thought captive and reject it away from your mind. It's a stronghold that will keep you in bondage until you take it captive and by the authority of God and his word, you cast it out. Just like Jesus did.
Number 5, forgive every person who's hurt you or helped to produce shame in your life. You may have been abused. Or raped. Or had something done to you. Or publicly embarrassed. Someone may have ministered shame to you to try to control you and to try to control your behavior. Could have been your parents. It could have been a church. It could have been somebody else. But God will never minister more grace to us than we're willing to give away to other people.
You know, shame is such a terrible thing to go through. I've gone through it. I don't really know anyone that hasn't. But some people more than others because of things that have happened in their lives and, you know, the devil is a master, just like with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Once they had sinned, they were now hiding from each other and hiding from God, and that's exactly what shame does. It separates us from God and it separates us from each other. And that's what the devil wants. The devil wants to isolate us, especially from God, but also from other relationships through shame.
Guilt is very specific. If God is ever speaking to us about something in our lives, he is loving, he is specific, and he is helpful. That's why you know that God is speaking to you. It's always loving. The signature of God is love. The signature of the devil is fear and shame. He loves to use fear and shame to isolate us and to convince us that God doesn't love us, we've done too much, we can't be forgiven, other people can't love us. That we've done so much wrong that we're just defective people. That is such a bunch of baloney.
When God found Adam after he had sinned, you know, God said to Adam, "What is this that you've done"? And Adam said, "I was afraid 'cause I was naked". And God said, "Who made you that way"? Or "Who told you that you were naked"? See, God made Adam and Eve naked. They were not defective, but as soon as they had sinned, the devil spoke to them that they were defective.
See, don't let the devil speak to you. Don't let the devil define who you are. God is madly in love with you and that will never change. The devil hates you and that will never change. You have to decide what voice you're going to listen to, but I'm saying to you right now, God loves you. He's for you. Anything that you've done, anything the world or people or the devil has done to you, it washes off. Just like taking a shower. It washes off by the blood of Jesus.
The blood of Jesus is the most powerful cleansing agent in the universe, and I promise, anything that you have done, it is not more powerful than the blood of Jesus. You're forgiven. You're blessed. Go on with your life and don't listen to a voice of shame for one more second. Focus on God and what God has done for you and his love. Don't focus on anything else and you can live the overcoming life. Thank you for joining me today. I'll see you next time.