Shame and self- contempt always stop growth and block healing, yet how often do we treat the tender places within ourselves with violence without thinking twice? We abuse ourselves, mock ourselves, and create a fear of our vulnerability. But we can change those critical voices.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We have the opportunity to change the “death” meaning of our stories by the power of our tongues. To breathe “life” into those places of fear and shame, we must do so through kindness. To treat our tender places inside with compassion may seem difficult at first.
The messages that play in our minds are mostly the ones of past suffering and sin, which are always twisted, toxic, contemptuous messages that have led us to where we are currently: lost and confused and full of displaced rage. We have the power to create a new message and replace contempt with blessing, with the voice of God rather than that of evil guiding us.
Imagine that we all have a formative four-year-old inside us attempting to learn something new, watching us learn how to act and live. Most of us are asked to accomplish things as adults that we are expected to know yet no one ever taught us. We do not know how to properly engage the timid four-year-old inside our own hearts. How do you parent the child inside you? Do you engage the young, tender parts of yourself with kindness or contempt? With rage and demands or with mercy and grace?I am convinced that absolute, unconditional, divine love is kryptonite for self-contempt.
God’s love calls us back from isolation and into relationship. It is this goodness that begins to turn us toward home. When you make a mistake, how do you speak to yourself? What are the words and phrases you commonly use to curse yourself? How can you reframe your reactions within the context of God’s love for you, and begin to speak kindness over yourself instead of contempt?
You've completed Overcoming Shame and Self-contempt which is Part 1 of How God's Love Changes Us: three reading plans based on The Prodigal Son Parable. All three plans are based on Andrew Bauman's book Stumbling Toward Wholeness. Learn more about the book here.