You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
New Growth Press (April 30, 2012)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He has counseled for over twenty-five years and is the best-selling author of many books, including What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?; When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest; and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. He and his wife Sheri have two daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.
Visit the author's website.
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
You can't bury it beneath big accomplishments, dress it up with fancy clothes, or drive it away in a shiny car. Shame lurks beneath the surface of anger and fear, beyond the reach of all the superficial remedies you've tried.
Shame has a long biblical history that starts with Adam and Eve's story of nakedness, rejection, and contamination. It was violently displayed again in Christ's crucifixion, and it has probably showed up in your life today.
But Christians do not have to tolerate lives dominated by shame and worthlessness, according to Edward T. Welch. We can learn to think differently and to live differently in the world that Christ purchased for us-a world where shame no longer controls our identity and relationships.
Welch guides readers on a journey through Scripture to discover the one enduring remedy for shame: the blood of Christ. By bringing shame into the light, where it can be addressed by the Bible, Welch helps readers to understand and receive the acceptance of God in Christ and experience the relief that comes with freedom from shame.
List Price: $ 17.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: New Growth Press (April 30, 2012)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The Quiet Killer
I hate shame.
I know there is a place for it. Utter shamelessness is not what we are after. I have learned much through the shame I’ve experienced and there are times when I should experience more of it. But I still hate it. I hate how pervasive it is, how it stalks in disguise beneath so many modern problems. Look under anger, fear, even guilt, and you will find a root of shame. I hate to see the suffering. People are dying from it—some quickly, others slowly. It is the heart disease of this and every era. Shame is Tolkien’s Ringwraiths: “The Nazgûl came again . . . like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men’s flesh.”
I asked a group of one hundred students if they experienced shame. They were an excellent class: ages twenty-two to sixty-eight, male and female, thoughtful, wise, and adept at helping others through complicated problems. Not too many people want to ac- knowledge shame in their lives, so I didn’t expect many to raise their hands—maybe a few auction-like finger twitches or head nods. But I did begin the discussion with an illustration of shame in my own life, which probably made the class feel a little more comfortable.
“We are going to talk about shame this evening. Have any of you experienced shame?” I hoped at least one person would come to my rescue and leave me feeling less exposed.
Then, as if to guarantee that no one would raise his or her hand, I added, “Debilitating shame?”
Immediately, the entire class raised their hands in unison.
I was hoping for one or two hands. To see so many broke my heart. Who would have thought? It was as if they simply needed a place where it was okay to acknowledge their shame.
I hope this book is a place where you can identify shame, ac- knowledge it in your life, bring hope to it, and then be humbled— not humiliated—as you receive comforting words and cleansing acts from God. I hope this book is a safe place.
Though the book will start by jumping into a number of descriptions of shame, the answers to shame will unfold gradually because the Bible has so much to say about it. Its words can’t be shared or assimilated quickly. It is a story that builds until you can actually notice beauty—without the sense of foreboding that it will soon be swallowed up by pain and disgrace.
What is shame?
Shame is the deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you. You feel exposed and humiliated.
Or, to strengthen the language, you are disgraced because you acted less than human, you were treated as if you were less than human, or you were associated with something less than human, and there are witnesses.
These definitions can get us started. There isn’t one mandatory definition or description for shame, but any definition will include certain elements. For example, you can expect images of being an outsider, naked, and unclean. And don’t forget shame’s public nature. Guilt can be hidden; shame feels like it is always exposed.
Once you identify shame, you can find it everywhere.
A middle-aged man seemed fine to others, though he himself felt like a little boy, stuck in the past, inadequate, small, and worthless. A decent job couldn’t erase the words and actions of his parents. Some of the words were all too common: “You will never amount to anything.” Those words were bad enough. Now add his parents’ indifference to his recounting of his school day, coupled with their enthusiasm whenever his sisters appeared. No wonder he had a lingering sense that something was very wrong with him. That sense is called shame.
Or you can find shame in a recently married woman who feels dirty after a sexual encounter with her husband. She remembers some inappropriate sexual touching by her brothers and wonders what else happened that she doesn’t remember.
Sometimes the descriptions of shame in this book will be jolting. For example, “You are an outcast” is blunt, matter-of-fact, and a bit impolite. A nicer way to say this would be, “You feel as if you are an outcast”; “You feel as if you are worthless, though you really aren’t.” Shame doesn’t seem as oppressive when you insert enough feel-as- ifs. If you only feel shameful, maybe it can be covered over by some affirming self-talk and you’ll be good to go: “Don’t pay attention to what you feel because it isn’t true. You really are acceptable and worthy. Clean as a whistle. Really! Just ignore the fact that you feel naked, contaminated, and rejected. Think positive.”
Well, that is not true. Shame is not a mirage. It is very real. A sexually violated woman feels contaminated by what has been done to her, and she really is contaminated. A person who has lived with
rejection can’t neutralize it with happy thoughts. Shame is like dirt. No matter how it happened, you are a mess and something has to be done about it. When you are dirty, there is no feel-as-if about it. Wishful thinking is ineffective. Psychiatric medications, drugs or alcohol, a change in perspective, and self-affirmation are equally in- effective. Shame demands something much more potent than these superficial treatments.
The first steps out of shame will be the hardest. These are the anti-denial steps in which we will put shame into words. You can’t do battle with something nameless, and too often shame eludes ac- curate identification. So we will search for words that bring shame out into the open, where it can be seen and fought against. The words you read in this book, though you might not want to hear them, will be familiar to you; many of them have been your long- time companions. At times they will make you want to turn away, but don’t give up; stay with it. Identification is only the first step. It isn’t the whole story.
After that, you will hear God’s words to the shamed, and you will discover shame’s opposite: You are acceptable. You will receive honor, value, worth, even glory, and it will be public.
At first you might be suspicious, as if God’s words are too good to be true. Are they just more happy thoughts, more positive self- affirmation? Don’t turn away. As those words pile up—as you can no longer deny God’s accepting love—you will want to turn toward him and hear more.
Listen for the love, hate the shame, and have no tolerance for resignation. That’s the plan.