This a line from one of my favorite songs (Murder of One), written by one of my favorite bands (Counting Crows), off my favorite of their albums (August and Everything After). Shame is something that you experience when you know, want and believe better of yourself. It is something that you honestly have to have a moral compass to even understand and it can be a powerful motivator for self destruction... or change. I don't believe in coincidences and so when I found myself humming it this morning and then it came on my ipod, only to be followed by an overwhelming self slap of my personal feelings of shame in the face of truth, I was not left wondering if perhaps I was going to be learning a lesson today.
Sometimes I do shameful things. I make choices that I know are wrong. In most instances I look back and feel ashamed but in some I know it will come even as I choose to do it anyway. What on earth do you do with that? When you find yourself in one of those places where you know that you chose willingly to do something you knew was wrong and it brings you to this sick disgusting place where you knew you would be. You can't blame anyone else. You can't say you didn't know it would end this way. It feels... shameful.
I was in a Beth Moore Bible study recently when she made the statement "You cannot shame someone out of sin". It took me a bit to really grasp that. She pointed out that when we (and boy do we as women, churches and especially church women, do this) try to pull someone out of sinful behavior by calling them out and telling them how ashamed they should be. It only inevitably pulls them back into it. You see, without a desire to change we are just drug back under with feeling like we simply are so shameful and damaged that we don't fit anywhere else but in our sin and shame. I have at times sat in that shame and let it eat me from the inside
out. It has been the mainstay diet of many personal demons. As I let
the words of this song roll over my soul this morning I was reminded of
the other choice. Change. You see the lesson I learned today is that the same truth applies to me. I cannot shame myself out of sinful behavior. Infact... the more I allow myself to feel and dwell on my feelings of shame the more likely I am to (you guessed it) be drug back under with feelings like I simply am so shameful and damaged that I don't fit anywhere else but in my sin and shame. That's right, the self proclaimed preacher of the gospel of "thou are not the exception" must humbly admit... I'm not the exception. There is still good news for me however. I am not dead, so therefore I can still
change. I am not the first person who has failed. Some people say that
the only way to truly fail is to never try. For me today, I will add
to that. The only way to truly fail is to never change.