Just before penning his now-famous advice to the Corinthians about the weapons of our warfare, Paul confessed, "Indeed, we live as human beings" (2 Cor. 10:3, NRSV). This seems like an obvious admission. But Paul's words here contain perhaps a reality we Christians don't like to concede. Yes, we live as humans, and so, we all deal with human things from time to time: struggles, temptations and weaknesses. Issues to which, on this side of eternity, none of us are completely immune.
Satan's Strategy of Shame
While this might seem counterintuitive to how he usually works, the enemy would rather you not know this. He'd prefer you to believe that after you're saved, you shouldn't struggle any longer.
As part of his great strategy of shame, the devil uses every slip up or confrontation by that all-too-familiar weakness to make accusations about who you aren't or what you don't have. "You're not a real Christian," "You don't have enough faith," or "You don't pray enough," he charges. With these, the enemy tries to silence you—to keep you quiet about your flaws, to influence you to put on a mask and pretend through pain. "Don't tell anyone," he urges. "Nobody will understand; they'll reject you!"
The Muzzle of Struggle
The devil knows the powerful truth that healing often happens through the sharing of weakness (see James 5:16). Accordingly, he uses a strategy of isolation to keep you shackled to the shame of your struggles.
Have you ever experienced this? I have. One of our first reactions when we've made a mistake or are feeling discouraged or depressed is to withdraw from people. We skip church or small group. We stop calling and texting. Our answers to the questions of family and friends become short and vague.
While it might feel good for a moment to lock yourself away, it soon only intensifies the issues. You are I were not designed to be alone. No, God made us for relationship. When we withdraw because of feelings of guilt, shame or the belief that "nobody else suffers like I do," discouragement is only magnified, which in turn, leads us back to the same ole struggles, and on and on the cycle goes.
The Greatest Shame Buster
If you truly want to begin the process of healing the shame of your struggles, then don't hide out. Ignoring is not the road to redeeming. Find someone you trust to take off your mask around and confess your faults. In doing so, you'll realize you are not alone in your weaknesses, but you are just another human being dealing with human things. You'll have somebody to pray for you and keep you accountable. Ultimately, though, you'll experience perhaps the greatest shame buster: the reality that somebody who truly knows you, truly loves you.
Kyle Winkler (kylewinkler.org) is the creator of the popular Shut Up, Devil! mobile app. His latest book is Activating the Power of God's Word: 16 Strategic Declarations to Transform Your Life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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