Difficult People

I was a difficult person, so I have some  idea what makes them tick.  I grew up with a deep sense of shame.  I’m not sure where it came from, but it was very real.  Guilt is a feeling of wrongness about something we did.  We can apologize and make amends.  Shame, on the other hand, is a feeling of wrongness about who we are.  In the creation story, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they became aware they were naked and they were ashamed.  It doesn’t say they felt guilt over offending God by their actions. They were ashamed of their bodies and their very selves.  Shame comes from Satan, and whispers to us that we are dirty and bad.  It has to be dealt with on a spiritual level, and the healing of shame is a gift from God when He enters a life.  All human methods of coping with shame have their drawbacks, as shown in human relationships. 

Shame can make us difficult persons in several ways:  It can make us controlling, self-promoting, defensive, cruel and unloving.  How can shame make us unloving?  If we feel unworthy of love, we close our hearts and withdraw from involvement in real relationships.  It can make us cruel in that we want to eliminate those people who make us feel uncomfortable.  If we feel shame and they exude confidence, we want them to feel as miserable as we are.  We hurt them or act in vindictive ways toward them.  Shame may make us defensive and we may jump down the throat of someone who is innocent because something they said brought out the feelings of shame in us.  We may become very controlling, because we feel more powerful if we are in charge of everything and it keeps the feelings of shame at bay.  We may use our power to manipulate others to serve us, and then take credit for their work. The boss in the movie 9 to 5 was an example of this.  Lastly, we may become very self-promoting trying to “be somebody”.  We’re certain that power, celebrity status, rank, privilege and the trappings of wealth will ensure the feelings of shame will leave forever.  It doesn’t work.  One need only look at celebrity suicides to see that.


One thing is needed:  God’s own healing.  When we recognize our lack, our inability to be truly great or truly good, we see we’ve come to the end of ourselves.  When we realize we need God as much as we need air, we call out to Him.  The words we use don’t matter.  He understands the cries of our soul.  As Jesus said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock and if anyone hears me calling him and opens the door to me, I will come in and have fellowship with him, and he with me.”  (Revelation 3:20)  When the Lord of the Universe enters our souls, we never need to feel shame again.  Its no longer about us, its all about Him.  When we become His friends and workmakes, there’s no shame in that.


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One Response to “Difficult People”

  1. sjgwin Says:

    Great Post. This is why we exist.



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