How God's Love Changes Us: Part 1- Overcoming Shame & Self-Contempt

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


I can picture the prodigal son as a grown man, possibly with children of his own. I can imagine him sharing his story as a gift to those around him: entering his shame narrative of squander, telling of his addictions while he ran away from home, and describing his glorious return to his gracious loving father. I envision him naming his failures, his strength, and his decision to receive the goodness of his father’s love.

When we do this type of redemptive storytelling, we reclaim good from evil, exchange shame for glory, and bring light to previously dark places of our souls. What would it mean to start offering authenticity among those in your community? Would you consider inviting a few close friends to start your own caring group? 

When you share your own desire for authentic connection, others can admit that they long for that too. Step into your fear and pursue that desire. The sharing of your narrative has abundant power to transform the heart of both the teller and the hearer. That said, there are people who may not be ready to receive or hold the beauty of your heartache well. Your story of shame is a gift—a sacred pearl. Jesus says, “Do not throw your pearl before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

Be aware who you share your story with, as there is great potential for unintentional harm. In the parable, we see the son learning the hard way that his friends would not hold his story well, as they abandoned him after the money ran out. Clearly, their motives were not to love and be in relationship with the son, but to use him for their own gain until he was no longer of use to them. Later in the parable, we see the picture of redemptive story sharing in the way the father held his son’s broken story well, by seeing and holding out hope for the resurrection in it. We must have the guts to tell our stories of shame with compassionate sojourners in a way that removes the power of evil and eradicates shame’s ability to turn into self-contempt.

What stories do you not tell? What stories are you silent about?

To whom can you give stories of shame?