Thanks so much for stopping by for Coffee Hour! Grab your coffee and your Strand of Faith and let’s go talk about a subject that needs some clarification, and will certainly give us a better direction to take when it comes to our relationships.
As I continue to work with others in the trenches, meaning we get to the root of their issues, I am learning…all the time. God’s funny that way, using others to teach us about us. Anyway, there have been several relational situations that have come up that are speaking to me, and quite profoundly. Why? Because they are all entwined with the same theme: finger pointing! One person does or says something, and the first reaction is to heap and hurl accusations without even stopping to properly process what it is they are feeling and needing.
When we can separate what we are feeling/needing from the other person, we are more likely to achieve relationship success and avoid the horrific side effects of shame. It’s so tragic to watch what shame does to a relationship. Being a shame-maker is a relationship-breaker! It is because of this common theme which keeps rising to the surface of our trenches that I thought I’d do this mini-series on the 7 Differences between Guilt and Shame.
The first one is: Guilt addresses what I did wrong; shame screams, “I am wrong!” Do you see the difference? See, guilt separates the sin from the sinner and shame works in the opposite direction, pointing the finger at the committer. If guilt addresses an act, then shame is an attitude which then becomes part of our belief system!
- Guilt can lead to positive change; shame steers us away from change! Remember, guilt is a result of doing something we know to be wrong and therefore, can work like a warning light on the dashboard of our minds/conscience, a steering wheel in the journey of life helping us to veer away from that same wrong, harmful and/or offensive act. Guilt leads to grace and grace brings change!
Let me leave you with one more:
3. Guilt can lead to accountability and connection, while shame leads to disconnection! How can guilt lead to accountability? Well, confessing our guilt from a mistake to others requires vulnerability; vulnerability increases connection and communication, all of which aid in changed behavior. Shame, on the other hand, encourages silence and hinders ability to confess or share our mistakes. Shame then becomes a condition…an inability to be transparent!
We’ll pick up with more of the seven next week.
From my heart to yours…