T his book touched me in a very profound and deeply personal way. I am in a Bible Study and one afternoon the leader asked what the difference between guilt and shame is. It kinda gave me the chills. I had really not heard or thought of the word shame in quite some time. I don’t know if it was a word used more when I was growing up, but it brought back the memory of a sentence my mom often used when she was upset with something we had done wrong, saying, “shame on you“. It’s not something I say to my children or part of my speach. Those words were tucked far away in my head. So I heard “shame” mentioned that afternoon. Days later my contact person from Tyndale Press asked if I would review this book, Shame Lifter: Replacing Your Fears and Tears with Forgiveness, Truth, and Hope. Okay, I thought . . . God must have something He wants to teach me.
If you are one who had childhood struggles/abuse, have a hard time accepting compliments, think you cannot measure up to God or not quite good enough, fear being like someone you absolutely do not want to be like and/or battle with addictions or eating disorders, this book is for you. She shares how the “shackles of shame can fall off.” The author, Marilyn Hontz, shares her painful childhood, and how it went into her parenting. You might not feel this type of book is for you – you had a perfect childhood, and really do not think you have hurts that need healed, but I found it also helpful in my parenting and the way I see my children interact with each other. The author discusses us either being shame lifters or shame givers. Are we building up others or tearing each other (including ourselves) down. How do our children play and joke with each other. Below are just a few quotes that I underlined in my book that spoke to me . . .
“Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a sense of failing and falling short as a human being.”
” . . . toxic shame lingers and eventually becomes a part of who you are and what you do and don’t do. It paralyzes you so you don’t think you can move on.”
“A shame lifter gives grace to the disgraced.”
“We deny Jesus every time we disregard His truth and put ourselves down. That hurts us. We deny Him every time we fail to see our value in Him. That hurts us. We deny Him every time we continue to hang on to our self-condemning thoughts and lies. That hurts us too. And then, it’s as if Jesus turns and looks straight at us with His eyes of love and compassion, and something dawns on us. We have, in a sense, denied our Lord Jesus, and I wonder if that hurts Him.”
After each chapter are a series of personal questions, things to contemplate, pray about and work through. This is a book I will come back to read, to see where I have grown, and where I need to continue growing and learning. I encourage you to read Shame Lifter: Replacing Your Fears and Tears with Forgiveness, Truth, and Hope for yourself.