Thursday, September 25, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Why is a shame based identity so detrimental to the Christian life?


harry coe maynard said...


We have a technically perfect world and until your Christian life reaches the Mercedez level you don't want to say anything.


Greg said...

Harry coe,
Perfectionism is the plight of many Christians - the false standards set out to measure up to are woefully misdirected.

John said...

Harry Coe I take it your comment was very tongue-in-cheek. Because I sure don't see a technically perfect world!

A shame-based identity is death to the Christian life. It seperates us from God, from grace, from ourselves, from others. If Christianity is, in part, a journey towards wholeness in Christ, then this fracturing of the self, a compartmentalizing of life, then it is only detrimental to the Christian life.

Susan Barnes said...

I'm a bit late this week, hope the coffee is still on!

A shame based identity is detrimental because it is based on lies and not on God's truth. It implies Christ's sacrifice was not good enough, that his grace isn't sufficient. It renders the person ineffective and unable to reach their potential.

Greg said...

Exactly. God is into redeeming, not shaming.

Greg said...

Still brewing. Thanks for this helpful response. A shame based identity tends to corrode all that's good and gracious.

John said...

Amen, Susan.

The Walk said...

A shame based identity can feed doubt and fear. It skews a person's view of life, so that trials become punishments and personal flaws--or perceived flaws--lead to questioning God's love, or one's own salvation (i.e. He is loving, but since I feel this way, I must not really be a Christian).

It impairs a person's ability to use his gifts. He is afraid to work within his areas of giftedness, because shame seems natural and confidence feels sinful.

A shame based identity leads a person to turn inward, and can lead a person to be somewhat self-centered as she desperately attempts to cling to the truth.

It is a foot-hold for the devil, but masks itself so cleverly as humility. It is imprisoning.

-How would you define "shame-based identity"?

Greg said...

The walk,
Thanks so much for your pertinent comments.

When shame becomes the central characteristic that identifies who one sees oneself as, then we can begin to call this a shame based identity. As you, I believe, correctly point out, any self affirmation or self confidence for this person will be understood as inappropriate.

I think there is a place for the turn inward in addressing a shame based identity as long as it is a trajectory that doesn't become an end in and of itself - self consumption - but rather is the place for self awareness that can be one of the first steps towards change and transformation in seeing onself as another.