Free from Shame
We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Before we make amends, constant guilt plagues our relationships with the people we've hurt. We actually give them power over us. We avoid them, feeling uncomfortable in social situations where they're present. We exclude them from our circle of friends. We become evasive and always hope that we won't have to deal with the shame of facing them. Living in hiding is not a good feeling.
Look at these two examples of people in hiding: "At that moment their eyes were opened, and they [Adam and Eve] suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?' He replied, ‘I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid' " (Genesis 3:7-10). "One day Cain suggested to his brother, ‘Let's go out into the fields.' And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Afterward the Lord asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother? Where is Abel?' ‘I don't know,' Cain responded. ‘Am I my brother's guardian?' " (4:8-9).
These are not stories of happy people! Living a lie necessarily forces us to live in shame and isolation. We begin to live constantly on the defensive. When we make amends, we're free to resume our relationships with God and others, and without the fear or shame.
Making things right with others will bring freedom from shame.
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.