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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mark Batterson » Mark Batterson - Unashamed, The Shame Game

Mark Batterson - Unashamed, The Shame Game

Mark Batterson - Unashamed, The Shame Game
TOPICS: Shame, Repentance

Good morning. I flew in from Colorado yesterday. So I'm acclimatizing to sea level, couple of seconds late on the pulpit, we'll get back in shape. It's so good to see you today. In fact, I just bless you in Jesus' name. So glad you're here, in fact, Lord, I just pray that today you would show up and show off your power, your grace, your goodness in Jesus' name. Would you add in amen. At the turn of the 20th century, a sociologist named Charles Horton Cooley introduced a theory known as the Looking Glass Self. Here it is in three simple sentences. I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am. I am who I think you think I am. Well, how much wood could a woodchuck Chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood, right? Little bit of a tongue twister, mind bender but here's the big idea, our self image, the way that we see ourselves is based on how we believe that others see us. Everybody in your life, family and friends, colleagues and classmates, coaches and teachers, everybody in your life functions as a mirror and so do you.

Now the problem with that is this. Not everybody is a good reflection. Now I've got two mirrors on stage. One is a flat mirror which means the angle of reflection equals the angle of incidents, it's an accurate re reflection. If you have a Bible, grab that Bible for a second. So here here's mine, and James 1 likens this Bible two a mirror. In fact, it says, if you look intently into this mirror, it will set you free. This mirror reveals our true identity. We see ourselves and we see others through the eyes of God. Now, hold that thought. The other mirror over here is a crazy mirror. Oh, just gonna peek into that crazy mirror. This one comes from a 1940s fun house and it's not a flat mirror, it's a curved mirror. It's convex in concave which means it does not reflect, it distorts. There are people who are amazing mirrors. They reflect what is good and true and beautiful, they just bring out the best in other people.

Now, when we were in Colorado Lora and I grab a quick breakfast with Dick and Ruth Foth, what amazing mirrors. They just reflect the image of God. Everybody needs someone who believes in them more than they believe in themselves. And I think Dick and Ruth exemplify this flat mirror that reflects what is good. Unfortunately, there are people who bring out the best and there are people who bring out the. Yeah, it's true, isn't it? They bring out the worst because they aren't reflecting the goodness, the grace of God news flash, they're projecting their pain. We criticize in others what we don't like about ourselves. Hurt people, hurt people. If you look in the wrong mirror, woo, Houston, we have a problem because like a crazy mirror, some people project all kinds of dysfunctions and distortions. So two questions up front, one, which mirror are you? Are you reflecting what is good and true and beautiful? Are you reflecting the image of God in others?

The image of God in me greets the image of God in you. Or are you perhaps projecting your pain in your prejudice on the people around you? And two, which mirror are you taking your identity cues from? Are you letting people label you? Or are you taking your cues from trending hashtags? There are some crazy mirrors that will distort your self image in some pretty profound ways or are you discovering your true identity and your true destiny by seeing yourself through the eyes of God? Well, welcome again to National Community Church in person, online, all of our campuses, Capital Turnaround, Lincoln Theater, Nova at St. James I'm thrilled you're here. Good timing, start a new series, "Unashamed". Don't miss the next two weeks, I hope today is okay. But the next two weeks we've got Irene Rollins who just wrote a book, "Reframe Your Shame". And then Donna Pisani, next two weeks, they're not just gonna unpack scripture, they're gonna share their stories and I'm believing God is gonna set some of us free, amen.

What I wanna do this weekend is reverse engineer shame. And so if you grab your Bible, you can meet me in the Garden of Eden. We'll start in Genesis 2:25 and we'll get there in a minute. Shame is a story we tell ourselves about ourselves. It's a negative feedback loop. I'm not good enough, not smart enough, not nice enough. You could fill in the blank with a dozen other things. It's feeling unworthy, unwanted, unloved, unimportant. Now there is nothing wrong with guilt. In fact, it's an accurate response when we do something wrong. We own it, kind of like pain and then we remedy it by experiencing God's forgiveness. It's okay to not be okay. Am I in the right room? It's okay to not be okay. But guilt is something that, guilt says, I made a mistake. Shame says, I am a mistake. And these are two totally different things. And I think so many of our issues happen when we let shame enter the equation of our lives.

Let me try to put a little bit of skin on it. Suzanne Vel, part of our staff here at NCC, so grateful, she gave permission to share this story. When Suzanne was in high school, her mother told her the number she should weigh. It's one thing to push your kids in a healthy holy way. It's another thing to project your expectations as distortions on your kids. Pretty dangerous, especially when those expectations don't line up with who that person is. And so Suzanne tried to target that weight, that magic number she never did. And the best shape of her life running cross country in college, 11 pounds over that number. After running eight marathons by the way, right Suzanne? Come on eight marathons, unbelievable, that deserves a hand clap. 20 pounds over that number after completing 300 Peloton Session, 30 pounds over that number.

Let me sidebar for a second. One form of shame is body shaming and it's more prevalent than ever because of social media. Is it any wonder that when people filter their posts, okay, I just posted a bunch of pictures from Colorado, which ones do you think I posted? The ones I felt pretty good about. Did I filt a little bit? Okay, just keeping it real. When you're social media feed is filled with filterd pictures of people living their best life in exotic places, it's hard not to have a subconscious reaction like what is wrong with my life? But here is what greases my heart, 32% of teenage girls who say they feel bad about their body, they feel worse when they look at Instagram, we gotta remedy this somehow some way. In fact, I might suggest social media might be this mirror. Yeah, okay, so when Suzanne looked in the mirror called her mother, never quite measured up to those expectations.

And this is where I should probably mention that the number that Suzanne's mother told her she should weigh was her mother's weight. And I should also mention that her mother is much shorter than Suzanne, less than five feet tall. Do you see where I'm going with this? Her mother was projecting, unfair, unhealthy expectations on her daughter. And we all do this to one degree or another with each other. I think a lot of our problems are these unfair, unhealthy, unholy expectations. This is often when and where and how shame enters the equation of our, am I getting close to home today? It was many decades later that Suzanne came to terms with the simple fact. She said it wasn't my number to achieve. It was never my number.

And so she stopped trying to measure up to the impossible expectations placed on her. And here's what she said, I exercise today not to beat myself up or to achieve an impossible goal set by someone else. In other words, I'm just gonna stop looking in this curved mirror. I'm gonna look over here for a second, I love what she says. Why does she exercise? I love strengthening the awesome muscles God gave me. Well, there you go. Come on just turn to the person next to you and give a little flex. Let's see it, come on. Those awesome muscles, all right. Now all of us have shame triggers and shame scripts. Now a shame trigger is something that causes us to feel unworthy, unwanted, unloved, for Suzanne, I'm imagining stepping on a scale might trigger some of those feelings, and you know, what's crazy? It can be an expression, a tone of voice.

Oh man, the plane I was on, I won't even give you the airline but like I got up to go to the bathroom like right when they said everybody remain seated. Like, but I got to go. Woo, the look I got, ah, ah, ah. Daggers just flying at me as I walked down the aisle. Isn't it crazy little things. Shame triggers are as unique as you are. And in many ways, the function of your personality and your history. And so we need to identify what those triggers are because what they do is they create a negative feedback loop called a shame script. And it's negative self talk. Sometimes it's something that someone said to us or about us and we just put it on repeat. Okay, I wanna try to keep this as real as I can.

Last time I checked circle maker, 6,283 reviews, 86% of them, five star reviews, 1%, one star reviews. Anybody wanna take just a wild guess? Which ones tend to carry the most weight? Man, out of the gate, I was reading those reviews, woo I would wake up in the middle of the night, my heart would be beating. And I just, I wanted to react. I'm like, you don't even know me. You don't know the heart behind these life goals like you don't, like I'm just sharing my story. Like there were some hard things. I took some of them on the chin and put some of those, I think a shame script is putting a negative review on repeat. Observation right here, when someone says something negative or hurtful, you have a choice to make, you can prove them right or prove them wrong. Can I get in our business a little bit today? Some of us need to prove some people wrong but not with that motivation, not like I'm all about proving someone wrong, I'm all about who God says I am.

Dr. Paul Tournier, a Swiss psychiatrist once that a patient struggled with chronic sense of unworthiness and during counseling, she revealed a memory from a moment in her childhood when she overheard her mother say to her father, we could have done without that one. And these feelings of being unwanted, of being unworthy, of being unloved, I just, oh Lord, help us, you can't give that a microphone. You cannot put that, you have gotta find a way to overwrite those shame scripts. And the good news is there's a way to do it, okay? We need to let God's word begin to reveal to us who we are and overwrite some of those distortions that have been projected on us. And so shame says, I am a mistake. God says you are my workmanship. I don't even know if you can read this and even if you have good enough eyesight, I don't know if my handwriting is good enough.

Shame says, I am unworthy, God says you are worth the cross to Christ. Shame says, I am not enough. Oh man, I love this, God says you are more than a conqueror. Shame says that you are unlovable, God says, no, no, no, you are my beloved. This is my beloved son, my beloved daughter and whom I am well, pleased. Shame says, I'm an accident. God says, no, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Shame says that I am insignificant. And God says, no, you are the apple of my eye. Do you see what's happening here? You can spend a lot all your time in front of this mirror kind of get all these projections and distortions or you can go over here and begin to press into your true identity in Christ. You have to flip the script. How do you do that? Scripture is our script cure and that's more than a play on words. It literally begins to overwrite some of those negative distortions that we get over here.

And so let's dive in Genesis 2:25, "Adam and Eve were both naked, and they felt no shame". When I was three years old, I don't remember this, but my parents told me about it. I was in the bathtub and I got out of the bathtub, ran out of the bathroom, ran out the front door and ran down Utah Avenue North. And my parents eventually, I have no idea what I was thinking but I was naked and unashamed. And we all were, don't laugh too hard, Joey. And we all were, right? There is this childlike innocence that is as close, it's an Edenic innocence, it's an echo of Eden and it's a glimpse of who we were created to be and not naked in the physical sense but oh, the emotional nakedness of just being able to be myself with you and you being able to be yourself with me and live in a shame free zone. That is God's original intent, what happened?

The Hebrew word for unashamed, boosh means no shame, no anxiety. The etymological root of shame means to hide. I think unashamed is the opposite. It's authenticity's, it's vulnerability, you know, in psychology, something called exposure therapy, right? That instead of hiding from what you're afraid of, you know, fear of dogs, right? No, the only way to solve it actually is to expose yourself to that fear and begin to slowly recondition it. It's a long, hard process but the exposure is key. Can I suggest I'm taking a little bit of Liberty here, but I think vulnerability is exposure therapy and it's so good for me and it's so good for you because then we realize I'm not okay. Oh, but wait, you're not okay. But it's okay because there is a God who is so much bigger and better than the sin and shame and mistakes that we have made. And his grace covers all of it.

Let me just say, you know, SOZO and celebrate recovery Like this can't just be a little talk about shame. You gotta do some hard work, right? SOZO is a wonderful prayer exercise that will begin to identify some of the shame and some of the hurts and some of the places that God might want to set you free. And then celebrate recovery is just saying, hey, we all have hurts and habits and hangups, let's get to work and work on our shame. The opposite of shame is vulnerability. Now, along with discovering what's right, your true identity, you have to confess what's wrong. See, shame lives in the shadows. Shame is all about, see what the enemy wants to do is just blackmail you. But the second you confess it, ah, now he can't blackmail you anymore.

This is a key distinction. Theologically, don't miss this. We confess our sin to God to be forgiven. We confess our sin to each other to be healed. God can't heal it if you don't reveal it. And so there's gotta be a moment where you exercise some courage. And I'll just say this as a pastor, heard a lot of confessions, some things that if I'm being honest, like, whoa, whoa, 'cause I did not see that. I want you to hear me right now. My respect for the person confessing has never gone down because I'm never surprised by sin, all of sin and fall shortly but what I'm surprised by is the courage to actually confess it. I'm like, wow, wow but wow, right? Come on and now let's get to work. Adam and Eve naked unashamed, so far so good so far So God fast forward. Genesis 3:1.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, did God really say you must not eat from any tree, any tree in the garden liar? The woman said to the serpent, we may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, but God did say you must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it, not touch it. Where did that come from? 'Cause that isn't what God said. Or you will die. You will not certainly die, the serpent said to the woman for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be open and you will be like God knowing good and evil.

Notice the tactic. What the enemy wants to do is plant a seed of doubt. Because if you begin to doubt the goodness of God, now it's an open door. You're a fair game. It's the begin, see before original sin, there is original doubt. Serpent says, did God really say you must not eat from any tree? You know, I love this stuff. There are 73,000 species of trees. There are 7,500 varieties of apples. They could eat from any one of them except one. And what do we do? We shift our focus to the one that is off limits, God is holding out on me, are you kidding me? You got 72,999 options but you're gonna focus on the one. You must not eat from any tree and you must not touch it. In psychology, there are these things called cognitive distortions. There are exaggerated, irrational thought patterns. Don't have time to deep dive it, but they run the gamut catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, dualizing, it's emotional reasoning, it's blaming, it's our stinking thinking when it just gets distorted. And I would argue, this is the first cognitive distortion.

See, when you begin to believe the enemy's lies. Now it's no longer a level playing field. Now racism, sexism, the whole thing. It's a lost cause because you don't recognize who you are and who everybody else is. God didn't say couldn't touch, it's overstating. Then the enemy makes a false promise, you will be like God. He appears as an angel of light but he's a father of lies. You have to do the hard work of identifying what lies have been told to you and about you. And I rebuke them in Jesus' name. It's just not who you are. You are who God says you are. verse six, and when the woman saw the fruit of the tree, it was good for food, pleasing to the eye, desirable for gaining wisdom, she took and ate. Also gave some to her husband who was with her. Where was he? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's so easy to blame Eve, right? Weak sauce Adam, you're right there, bro. Come on, why don't you step up and step in.

Yeah, okay, all right, got that off my chest. Gave some to her husband with her, he ate it, the eyes of both of them opened, they realized they were naked, they sewed together leaves and made coverings for themselves. I don't have time, the curse is self-consciousness and the solution is God consciousness. The day is gonna come that we're gonna see him face to face. All of those other things are gonna fade away. Lora and I have been doing these five minute meditations when we were in Colorado just to kind of begin today, reading a book, waiting on God and then doing another five minutes. And it's crazy, the verses and songs that just popping in my head. Yesterday, it was literally like "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace" I haven't sung that song in 20 years and I still don't sing it very good. But come on, we gotta get over to this mirror.

Verse eight, then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and they hid, they what? We have been playing hide and seek ever since. We talk about us seeking God, no, no, no, no that's backwards. God seeks those who worship him in spirit and in truth, God is seeking you, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my, there's a target on your back. It's a target not for any kind of retribution, it's not anything you need to fear. See, you can run from God your whole life but if you turn around what you're gonna find is it God with arms wide open, come on, bring it in, bring it in, bring it in. You know what? We just, we hide from the only one who can heal us. What are we doing? What are we doing? So I say, turn around today, just stand in front of that mirror and absorb, this is who God is.

Lemme zoom out. When I was in grad school, introduced to something called the Johari Window, I shared this before, consists of four quadrants and you'll see them on the screen. Quadrant one is the arena quadrant. And it consists of those things you know about you and others know about you. It's your public persona, it's your Facebook feed, it's what everybody knows, everybody sees. Now quadrant two is the facade quadrant and this one's key. It consists of those things you know about you but others don't know about you. I'm just kind of curious today like how big is that quadrant? Like everybody's fighting a battle we know nothing about. And it usually happens in that facade quadrant. This is who you are behind closed doors, this is where we hide our pain and hide our shame. It's the secret sins we never had the courage to confess, it's those secret dreams we've never had the courage to verbalize.

The quadrant three is the blind spot quadrant. It's things that you don't know about you but others know about you. This is a little scary, right? But this is where we need prophets in our lives. This is where the church is the church. This is where we call out the giftedness and speak the grace, prophetic words, words of wisdom, words of encouragement. We need people to speak into that blind spot quadrant. And then finally the unknown quadrant. And it consists of those things you don't know about you and others don't know about you but God knows because he knit you together in your mother's womb, 'cause he knows the number of hairs on your head. Here's what I believe, here's what agrees my heart. I just don't think you can reach your full God-given potential without God. Like it's only in relationship with God that he begins to reveal, this is who you are. No you can do all things through Christ who strengthen, no, I have a plan and a purpose for your life.

And now in that quadrant, God begins and you come to life. The fullness of life that God wants you to have. Here's a homework assignment, 2 Samuel 7:18, I do this occasionally. That says David went in and sat before the Lord and he asked a question, who am I suffering Lord? Would you take an hour? Just look intently into that mirror. Sit before the Lord, who am I, sovereign Lord? See what he says.

Quadrant two, shame triggers, shames scripts. This is where they live. There's a problem when I haven't preached for a month 'cause there's a lot to say. When the clock doesn't tell me really how long I've been preaching, that's a problem. So I'm just gonna keep going unless someone can gimme some kind of cue. Okay, we're gonna keep going. This is not gonna seem significant to you. This incident that I'm gonna share when I was five, six years old is gonna seem like nothing to you, was huge to me. I'll never forget it. In church, had one of those A-frame churches, Trinity Covenant Church in Minnesota. And I don't know how, I don't know how this happened but I had a crush on little girl in my Sunday school class. And evidently it was obvious because I remember my parents and a group of friends laughing. I have the most amazing parents. They didn't do anything wrong.

If I could describe to you the feeling of embarrassment, but I can't. But it was so intense in my little five year old heart that I went home and I took a piece of paper, I think my mom might still have this. And I wrote, I'm never coming out. And I put it on the door of my bedroom and I never did, I never came out. Oh, I came out for dinner. There were feelings and emotions, never really talked to my parents about dating. You know, I mean, listen, when Lora and I got married, they figured it out that I liked her, okay? But there was a facade quadrant in my life that it's just so I look back on it now and it's just, it's irrational, it doesn't make any sense but it was this weird shame script at five years old that gets interpreted in a way that just, and I hide. I'm just, how many of us are hiding? Jesus came to set the captive free. Wants to set you free. And the only way outta quadrant two is confession.

Some good news, if we confess our sin, it's faithful and just to forgive us our sin and it cleanses from all unrighteousness. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Ah, but if we confess that sin, now we discover who we are. As I see it, you have two options today. I gotta figure out is this where we land or do I go a little further? Two options, in alter ego with an E or an alter ego with an A, you might need to write that down just to see the difference. A-L-T-E-R, alter ego. It's pretending to be who you're not. And the problem with that is that if you is who you ain't, you ain't who you is. And you just spend way too much time and energy pretending to be who you're not, it's exhausting. People to try to impress other people are unimpressive. People who aren't trying to impress anybody, woo, that is impressive, wow.

And I think the key, biblically speaking you gotta be unoffendable, you gotta get comfortable in your skin, you gotta be without Gail. I call it an alter ego with an A, and it's really pretty simple. It's just laying your shame, laying your pride, laying your lust, laying your anger. Just putting all of it at the foot of the cross, why? Because for the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross doing what? Scorning its what? Shame. How was he hanging on that cross? The way the Romans did it, half naked, maybe fully naked. The rawness of that moment. But he said, let me take it, let me take it. Come on, no, do not live in your shame. You're set free. Live in the fullness of who you are, you're my workmanship. You mean the cross to Christ, you're more than a conquer. You are my beloved made in the image of God, the apple of God's eye.

Oh man, so out of time. Next couple of verses, I'll just summarize it. We play three games, fame game, shame game and blame game. You can see it right here in the text. You read it, you'll find it. You will be like, God, it's the fame game, worship me. It's playing God, stop. It doesn't work. It's just not gonna work out well. Shame game, I'm just gonna keep hiding, accumulate more and more things behind that facade. And then the blame game, oh you gotta love this. Adam, to quote Adam, this is so passive aggressive. The woman you put here made me do it. What is up with Adam? Wow, and then Eve reaches in her back pocket and says, the devil made me do it. The only way to win the fame game is to not play and it's called humility. The only way to win the shame game is to not play and it's called vulnerability. And the only way to win the blame game is to not play and it's called responsibility. Doesn't mean it's your fault. Means I am response able. I'm able to choose my, see, you can play God or you can play the victim or you can just get in front of this mirror and say God, oh thank you, Jesus.

See, when I look in the mirror, anybody else you always focus on what's wrong. You get a close look at my face, what you'll discover is Pastor Mark, you did not wear enough sunscreen as a kid. Because I see these sun spots, I see these age spots, right? We're on vacation, I didn't shave for a few days, we're like, woo, that beard's getting kind of gray up in here. See, I tend to focus on, ah boy, I don't love that about me, but you gotta get in front of that mirror and let God begin to speak who you are. So I'm gonna close. Okay, Genesis 1:26, back up the verse, this is it. "Let's make man in our image and our likeness so that they may rule over the fish and the sea and the birds in the sky and the livestock, all the wild animals, all the other creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God, he created them male and female, he created them".

Okay, final thought. Everything you wear, everything from t-shirts to TVs tends to have a label, yes? And that label says where it was made, made in Canada, made in Mexico, made in America. If you had a label would it say, made in the image of God? I'd love to preach a whole nother sermon about the problem with treating people as a common enemy instead of our common identity in the image of God because it turns into us versus them but the reality is we don't have to look alike, vote alike, think alike. Doesn't change the fact you are made in the image of God. And I will love you that way, I have to, I have no other choice. And so God blesses them, right? Verse 28, blesses them, its his most ancient instinct and it is our deepest longing.

A few years ago, speaking at a conference in the UK, Q and A with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. And he said something that was pretty profound. He said, he was asked what do you believe to be the greatest challenge that every follower of Christ face? Archbishop didn't skip a beat, said every Christian I meet cannot quite believe that they are loved by God. Want you to know today God doesn't just love you, he likes you. 'Cause he sees his image, he sees his workmanship, he sees the apple of his eye. Woo, if you wanna get me crying, start me talking about my kids. "Cause I see my image in them". Nothing like it. Before original sin, there was original blessing. That sequence is significant. I think our deepest longing is to be loved uniquely, completely, unconditionally. That's who God is, that's what God does. No one knows you better, come on. No one knows you better, no one loves you more, in Jesus name, amen.

So Lord, as we prepare to worship, I pray that as we, in fact, you go ahead and stand, you stand, you're in person. Lord, I pray that right now you would give us a revelation of your heart, of your love for us. Lot of talking this morning but God, I pray that you would give us a moment in front of this mirror. A moment just to be reminded of who we are in Christ. In Jesus' name, amen.

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