Shame is the feeling not that I’ve made a mistake (that’s guilt), but that I am a mistake. In recent years, many have found help from professor and author, Brené Brown, who eloquently and powerfully teaches about empathy as the antidote to shame. When two people are vulnerable with each other, Brown says, the power of shame is undone. Sometimes. Sadly, vulnerability is often met not with empathy, but with rejection. A common solution to this problem is to emphasize the great need for the shame sufferer to realize just how worthy of love they are. However true this might be, it often has the effect of requiring the sufferer to find their worth within themselves, which is not an easy task when you don’t feel worthy of love. How does the Christian gospel – the announcement of what God has done for the world through Jesus – speak to the shame sufferer? Dick Keyes and Curt Thompson have given helpful answers to this question (to name a few), but this vulnerable and humorous talk from Jonathan Linebaugh uses an old Bob Dylan lyric to begin one:
Lay down your weary tune, lay down Lay down the song you strum And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings No voice can hope to hum
Listen to "Thank God, I'm Not Me: Shame and the Self in St. Paul" (Christian Heritage).