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Made in the Image of God: Transforming Our Shame

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This is the fourth post of a five-part series on shame. If you want to catch up click the links for the FIRST, SECOND and THIRD blogs. Make sure you subscribe to our mailing so you don’t miss a thing!

It is important to note here, that when Jesus exposes our guilt, he is not trying to throw us into a pit of shame. We are not being invited to believe that because of our guilt our identity is now one of a bad person. Instead, we are being invited to allow guilt to expose our inner wounds and brokenness that are causing us to act in ways that cause guilt and shame in the first place.

In other words, because so much of our guilt emerges from our efforts to cover our shame, experiences of guilt can free us: When we pay attention to our guilt, we see the wounds of our shame that are so much in need of healing.

Let me say that again: Because so much of our guilt emerges from our efforts to cover our shame, experiences of guilt can free us: When we pay attention to our guilt, we see the wounds of our shame that are so much in need of healing.

The mystery is this: When we lay both our guilt and our shame at the foot of the cross, two things happen. We are forgiven our guilt and we are healed of our shame. In short, we are transformed. From this place of transformation we can make amends where appropriate and we can embrace others as they are, regardless of the shame wounds they carry.

Notice though… When we are transformed it is not typically our identity that is changed. Instead it is the shame associated with that identity that is healed. While we may become smarter or wiser as a result of our healed shame, changing our identity is not the point. Transforming our shame is the point.

Because although some of our identity is fluid, much of our identity is not. In fact, the portion of our identity that is not fluid is the container given to us by God through which we are invited to sense, see and realise the diamond core we have been given. When we are no longer ashamed, we are free to celebrate both our core self and our God-given identities. We are free to live from our core self and to see our worth. And from this inner core of goodness, we become free to see the goodness in the other, even when it is buried under their own layers of shame and guilt.

Transformed, we gain that which we have always wanted… To be loved and valued and ok just as we have been created to be.

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Betty Pries has more than 20 years of experience coaching, mediating, training and consulting in the areas of conflict resolution and change.   Betty's work with churches and church organizations is guided by her desire to enhance their spiritual and organizational health, and strengthen the capacities of leadership to discern a way forward.

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