Title: The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves (IFPL # – 233.5 Thompson)
Author: Curt Thompson, M.D.
Publisher: IVP Books, 2015
Men carry a lot of hidden baggage, related to sinful experiences and/or sinful responses in their upbringing, their work performance, their marriage intimacy, their parenting, and many other issues holding them captive. Shame holds it all down lest one becomes vulnerable. But where vulnerability is allowed, healing begins.
The author should have spent more time with shameful sins and gospel repentance, but I did find the poignant stories of shame in this book to be very helpful in counseling. The accounts written by this Christian psychiatrist prove over and over that healing does not ultimately come through medicine but through gospel community.
Here is a highlight of the book:
The more of me that is exposed to another, the greater will be my wounding when I am betrayed. We deeply long for connection, to be seen and known for who we are without rejection. But we are terrified of the vulnerability that is required for that very contact. And shame is the variable that mediates fear of rejection in the face of vulnerability.
The good news!
But in the Trinity we see something that we must pay attention to: God does not leave. The loving relationship shared between Father, Son and Spirit is the ground on which all other models of life and creativity rest. In this relationship of constant self-giving, vulnerable and joyful love, shame has no oxygen to breathe. The ever-present movement of this three-part, shared relationship toward one another–working with one another, trusting one another, delighting in one another–provides the basis for why God created the world in vulnerability, and then made himself vulnerable in coming to it in Jesus. This imaged trinitarian relationship is where all healing begins for followers of Jesus.