"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin...So do not worry...your heavenly Father knows that you need them..." - Matthew 6: 28, 31-32
**Photography by Melissa Talbot**
These three small, simple words have the capability of packing a punch against our hearts, minds, and self-esteem. Words that can quickly alter our entire well being and cause us to distort our self-image.
Shame has quickly become a 'pseudo trend ' in our world. Unlike fashion trends, this trend doesn't appear to be vanishing after a certain amount of time has passed. Instead, it's growing like a cancer within our society.
Shaming has, oddly, become a way of life in that one person feels the need to shame another person for something they have done or how they are. There doesn't seem to be a limit on what people consider to be shameful nowadays which causes great concern in this blogger's heart.
Feeling ashamed can affect us in ways that are, for the most part, false and unwarranted. For example, feeling ashamed for breastfeeding in public. It's amazing how individuals feel the need to chastise mothers for doing the very thing the shamer was once completely dependent on for life.
Or shaming someone who has a mental illness and struggles, daily, to overcome the very things haunting them. Telling them to 'suck it up', 'get over it' or to 'move on'. Causing crippling fear and reluctance to ever talk about the very thing that is burying them.
Then there is the shame projected at new mothers suffering with post-partum depression. Mothers who have been made to feel inadequate because of their inability to cope as a new mother at no fault of their own. Even the ability to go on living.
Yet, due to outdated stigmas and shame both inward and from others, many of the very serious struggles of life have been placed on a billboard of things that are no longer tolerable. Is that because of ignorance or a refusal to be informed and educated about real battles being fought by real people?
Thankfully, someone along the way has seen this pattern or 'trend' as unacceptable and has raised the standard of respecting human life. After having battled post-partum and knowing the very real pain of it, this blogger and mother has immense gratitude for the efforts being made to end the stigma that was behind PPD for so long.
Grateful for initiatives toward speaking out about mental illness and depression or providing options to those considering abortion. While helping me to remain compassionate and supportive toward the hurt in other people's lives, whether knowing their circumstances fully or not.
There is no shame in being imperfect or not having it all together like the world would have us, otherwise, believe. Imperfections are what makes things beautiful. Like a chip off a piece of pottery or a slightly missed brush stroke on fine china. The imperfections in things and in us allow for vulnerability. To be real, without shame, thus helping others to know they are not alone.
One of the things I love about Jesus is that He never made anyone feel ashamed. He never went out of His way to condemn someone who had done wrong. He simply loved them, even a woman who had committed adultery. He had mercy on her and, by loving her, made her realize the wrong path she had taken, causing her to have a renewed confidence to live right.
In the book of Romans in the Bible it says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." Jesus never shames us or puts our faults and failures on display like the world does. He doesn't rub our noses in our mistakes or shake His finger at us.
The hope that the world will turn things around grows daily. There are glimpses of hope through articles informing people on the very real burdens of PPD, mental illness, abortion, and many other things that have plagued people with shame.
At the end of the day, we are human which means we are all prone to make mistakes and mess up. The time for shaming needs to be over. The time for intolerance toward imperfection also needs to be over.
Encouragement for the week:
Have you been shamed by someone? How did it affect the way you feel about yourself? Did you beat yourself up about it and enter into self-condemnation?
I used to condemn myself all the time for the things I did until I came to know a relationship with Jesus. While I am not perfect in this relationship with Jesus, He helps me to see and know that my faults are not held against me and that He will never shame me for them.
It's unfortunate that the ways of this world shame us every chance it gets but there is a powerful truth that counters that...Jesus won't.
If you are a Christian, you can have confidence in an ever shaming world because you know that Jesus doesn't condemn you for the things you have or haven't done. That is His promise you can take to the bank.
If you are not a Christian, look for Jesus and you will find Him. You will come into a relationship with someone who will never shame or condemn you.