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The Foul-Feathered Fiend Called Shame


Shame is a Tough Old Bird


I’ve just returned from a missed breakfast with a new friend from church. Missed because I misread my appointment reminder. Totally my fault. As I stepped out of my car to head into the restaurant I checked my calendar and stopped in my tracks when it said 8:30. You see, it was 9:30.

I called and left a message apologizing immediately. Then I sent an apologetic email. I am hopeful we will still get a chance to break bread together. Now I fight the shame welling up in my soul because I left this new friend hanging at the restaurant.

You see, shame is a tough old bird and she just won’t leave me be. She got her claws in me pretty deep after my affair was revealed, and I keep throwing her off; yet she keeps settling back on. My soul is pocked with her claw marks, mostly healed over, but every now and then she reminds me of her powerful presence and how she enjoys seeing me shrivel in my shame.

But shriveled I won’t stay because a more powerful presence has settled on my soul - more powerful than that foul-feathered fiend called shame. It is Grace. Grace gives me the courage to call my friend and apologize. Grace gives me the strength to toss off that tough old bird. She is not welcome. She will not stay.

She is no longer welcome because Grace has come to stay, and Grace leaves no space for her to roost. And even though shame causes me to fear rejection and disconnection, Grace offers me the one thing I need most: the gift of being accepted before I become acceptable. Grace looks at my ugliness (my forgetfulness, my clumsiness, my haughtiness) and embraces me in the midst of it. So even if my new friend doesn’t return my text, or my call, or my email, I do not have to succumb to shame. Rather, I will give in to Grace. Beautiful Grace.


What is your experience with the tenacity of that tough old bird, shame? What will be required of you to surrender to Grace?


Betrayed and Betrayer by Ben and Ann Wilson