Shame and Isolation (The Invisible Battle – Week 4)
Jason White


One of Satan’s tactics in spiritual warfare is to shame us and isolate us from others after we sin. He knows that this will keep us in a cycle of sin. But through Jesus we have complete forgiveness and a church family to do life with and keep things out in the light.




Sermon Audio Transcript
Several years ago, there was a book that came out and eventually became a movie, titled The Kite Runner. Several of you may have either read the book or seen the movie, and if so, you know that it is a story of shame and the devastating effects it can have on someone’s life.And while there are a lot of events that deal with this, one of those involved the main character a kid named Amir who walked up to a corner of an alley and could hear some commotion going on…and so he peaked around the corner, trying not to be seen, and what he saw was a group of boys who had trapped his best friend in the alley and they were abusing him in horrific and humiliating and disgusting ways…And Amir froze. He was filled with fear and stood there and did nothing…he just watched and listened as this group of boys abused his best friend.And that led to SO much shame in his life. He replayed the events over and over again in his mind and beat himself up for being such a coward and not trying to go to his friend’s rescue.He watched the effects it had on his friend and how it led to him feeling the shame of what had happened to him and how he began to isolate himself and hide from others…how his personality changed and how he became so depressed and filled with anxiety…And the more he saw it change his friend and all that it was doing to him, caused Amir to feel even more shame in his own life…And the story goes on to show how this went on not for a few days, or a few weeks, or a few months, but for years and years and years into adulthood. At one point, 26 years later, Amir says this about that day…“That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what people say about the past…about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”This is what shame does in our lives…it continues to pop up in our lives and works behind the scenes in ways that we may not even realize that impact our thoughts and actions and how we treat others, and can cause so much destruction and devastation in our lives.WEAnd we all have it…we all have things in our past or things that we are doing right now that cause us shame…that cause this feeling of humiliation and distress from something we did that was wrong or embarrassing or even possibly from something that’s been done to usAnd it can be something that happened 30 years ago, and all of a sudden out of nowhere something can cause us to remember that moment and have an immediate rush of anxiousness and embarrassment and wish so desperately that we could erase that moment from our past… we are so fearful that someone else will find out and know the real us and that they will abandon us.This is how powerful shame can be in our lives…and that is why it is one of Satan’s best tactics to rob us of the abundant life Jesus came to provide for us and to experience in Him.GODWe’ve been talking the last 4 weeks about spiritual warfare and how the enemy works in our own lives and in this world to devour us and cause destruction and to as I just said rob us of real, abundant life…And today as we finish up this series, I want us to see how SHAME is one of Satan’s best used tactics to accomplish his goal.Last week, we talked about his tactic of TEMPTATION, and how he works to deceive us with the lure of something that promises satisfaction, pleasure, and fulfillment…But watch this…He works so hard and sometimes for so long to get us to take the bait and as soon as we do, he immediately makes us feel condemnation and shame for doing so.And it’s a tactic that again we see has been going on for a long time…and goes all the way back to the beginning in the garden…In Genesis 3, we already looked at how Satan tempted Eve through lies and deception, but look at what happens after she and Adam took the bait…6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Now this is a big deal. It may not seem like a big deal to you and I because of how things are today…But look back at Genesis 2:25This is after God had just created Eve and everything was perfect in the garden…and v 25 says…25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Everything was fully exposed in their lives and they felt no shame. Everything was out in the open and there was intimacy between Adam and Eve and between them and God…BUT as soon as they fell for Satan’s temptation…as soon as they took the bait, Satan began to use his tactic of shame…They began to feel shame and the need to cover themselves…which is what Satan leads all of us to do…put on a mask, cover up what you just did…you can’t let people see this about you…b/c if they did, they would know the real you and they would reject you and abandon you…In other words, Satan moves from “You did something wrong to THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.”There is something wrong with you, so cover yourself up…wear a mask…pretend to be someone different.But watch what else happens…look at v. 88 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Adam’s shame caused him to feel the need to hide…to try and run from God. You know, it’s amazing how science finally catches up to things we see in the Bible. I mean, in studying shame this week and preparing for this message, I came across articles about brain neurology and the impact shame has on us…For example, here is what one article said…When faced with shame, the brain reacts as if it were facing physical danger, and activates the sympathetic nervous system…which triggers the feeling of needing to disappear.I’m thinking, yeah we see that all the way back at the very beginning of time in the Bible. This is what Satan does…He doesn’t want us to experience life with our Creator and real, authentic, genuine relationships with others made in His image, so he causes shame in our lives and convinces us that the best thing to do is to run from God and hide from other people…Isolate yourself from them b/c then you won’t feel the embarrassment and humiliation you feel in this moment right now.But it’s a lie…it’s a trick…it’s just more deception. It was deception that got us into this mess in the first place, and Satan is going to use more deception to feel like it’s the way out of the messWe’ve already looked at this verse several times in this series, but look again at 2 Peter 5:8…8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.Now, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Peter uses the lion as a reference to Satan. I mean we have all seen those videos of a lion sneaking up on a herd of wildebeests…and they never just jump right into the middle of the herd…NO, they wait until one gets separated or isolated from the rest of the herd and then they attack and devour.Satan is using shame to isolate us from community b/c he knows that he can have even more of a hey-day with you and me when he gets us alone…he’ll just keep the lies coming and the feelings and thoughts of shame and embarrassment and then tempt us to get into sin to cover up and medicate those feelings in illegitimate ways and keep us in this cycle.BUT THERE IS A WAY OUT!And it really comes back to the same things we’ve been talking about over the last several weeks…this is a battle of truth and lies. Satan is a liar and a deceiver, and if we know the truth, the truth will set us free (Jesus says)…The lie is that b/c of what you did or what’s been done to you that you are condemned, that you aren’t loved, that there is something wrong with you, and you have to hide from God and others to protect.But let’s look at some of God’s truths…Perhaps the most incredible and freeing verse in all of the bible is Romans 8:1 which says…1 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ JesusIf you and I have put our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, then Paul says there is absolutely and unequivocally no condemnation that you receive! And that is because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection… 2 Cor. 5:21 says…21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.Since Jesus didn’t have any sin in His own life to pay for, He took on all of our sins and paid the penalty for them through His death on the cross…and then after His resurrection and ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit so that when we put our faith/trust in Him to be our Lord/Savior then the H.S. comes to dwell in us and unites us to Jesus in this spiritual union…And Jesus is righteous, so in our union w/Him, we become righteous…and now therefore, there is no condemnation left for us to face. All of our sins have been paid for and we are righteous.So, Satan wants us to believe that through the shame we feel that we are condemned, but the truth is that in Christ we are not. We also said that Satan lies through our shame to convince us that we are not loved (1 Jn 1:3)See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!It was God’s love for you that sent Jesus to the cross to adopt you into His family…God is love, and He loves you so much that He sent Jesus on a rescue mission for you so that He could be with you and pour out His love on you.Listen, we are even told in Hebrews 12 that Jesus was able to endure the cross b/c of his love and the joy it would give Him to be with you. Look at Heb. 12:22 … For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.So talk about shame…I mean it was an extremely shameful experience for someone to be crucified. It was degrading and humiliating, and especially if you are God…But the author of Hebrews said that Jesus endured it…all of the suffering and shame “for the joy set before him.” What was the joy set before Him? YOU! The opportunity on the other side of the cross to sit back at the right hand of God the Father and have you adopted into the family (sitting there with Him – Col. 3:3), and experience the love that He has for you.Do you see how much you are loved?Satan wants you to fall for the lie that when you sin and mess up that you are not loved… but Jesus knew all of the sins you would commit in the future and Heb. 12:2 still says, “For the joy set before him!” It still brought him joy to think about being with you, b/c the fact of the matter is that those sins you would still commit after being adopted into His family wouldn’t change who you are, they wouldn’t define you.Because behavior doesn’t define you, God defines you…your birth defines you.We used to play a game when I was in youth ministry where the students were given the name of an animal…and they had to behave like that animal, and the goal was to have people be able to guess what kind of animal you were acting like…And there would always be some students who were really good at looking like, moving like, sounding like this particular animal…but in reality no matter how much they behaved like that animal, that didn’t make them that animal! Their behavior did not define who they were.Satan wants to convince you through your shame that you didn’t just do something wrong, but that there is something wrong with you! You are defined by your sin. Truth…Rom. 6:6-76 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. When you receive Jesus into your life, the old you died…your sin nature…which did define you was killed and you’ve been raised up to new life in Christ, and in Him you are holy, you are righteous, you are God’s child.And no behavior changes that. Paul writes to churches all throughout the N.T. who had behavior he was writing to correct, and he still addressed them as saints, as God’s children.Satan will try to use shame to convince you that you didn’t just do something wrong but that something is wrong with you…and the truth is that in Christ, even after that sinful behavior that Satan is making you feel shame for, nothing has changed…you are still holy, you are still righteous, you are still God’s child!TRANSITION: And that also means that you don’t have to hide from God or from others!Again, this is the lie Satan will try to get you to believe…but it’s not true.We are told when Jesus died that the curtain in the temple which separated the Holy of Holies and God’s presence from others was torn…which is so significant.I mean there was a curtain…there used to hiding b/c sin was a barrier…but when Jesus died for ALL sins, the curtain was torn and now we have access to God all the time! Heb. 10:19-2219 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith bringsWe don’t have to run and hide from God when we sin…when Satan fills us with shame and embarrassment and condemnation. We can still approach God with full assurance that Jesus has already dealt with that sin and we can bring it out in the light and don’t have to try and hide it or ourselves from God…or each other! Just a few verses after this, the author of Hebrews says…24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.We don’t have to hide from others either…we don’t have to stay away from church when Satan begins to feel us with shame…we don’t have to hide behind a mask and pretend everything is okay. We can bring it out into the light with others b/c we aren’t defined by our sin.See, when we understand God’s truths and walk by faith they are true, Satan’s tactic of shame & Isolation to rob us of the life and joy Jesus came to bring us won’t work on us.It’s a battle of truth and lies…and the more we understand the truth about who Jesus is and who we are in Him, the more we are able to walk in the victory we already have in Him.I want to close by sharing something that pastor and author John Lynch wrote, called “God’s Great N.T. Gamble.” And it’s from the perspective of God showing and revealing to us through His world all of the truths about Him and who we are in Christ. And I just think it can help us so much as we close out this series on Spiritual Warfare and the lies of Satan that are his primary tactic to use against us. It’s the truth…the full truth…and walking by faith in those truths that set us free. Listen to what he writes…What if I tell them who they are? What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgment, or rejection? What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I can’t love them more than I love them now, that I love them right now no matter what they’ve done, as much as I love my only Son. That there’s nothing they can do to make My love go away.What if I told them there are no lists? What if I told them they were righteous, with My righteousness, right now!? What if I told them they could stop beating themselves up? That they could stop being so formal, stiff, and jumpy around Me. What if I told them I was crazy about them? What if I told them even if they ran to the ends of the earth and did the most unthinkable, horrible things, killed Me and were unfaithful in their marriage, when they came back, I’d receive them with tears and a party? What if I told them I don’t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they’ve let Me down, made promises they don’t keep? What if I told them they don’t have to be owned by men’s religious additions or traditions? What if I told them that if I am their Savior, they’re going to heaven no matter what – it’s a done deal? What if I told them they had a new nature, saints, not saved sinners who should now “buck-up and be better if they were any kind of Christians after all He’s done for you.” What if I told them that I actually live in them now? That I’ve put my love, power, and nature inside of them, at their disposal. What if I told them they didn’t’ have to put on a mask? That it was OK to be who they are at this moment, with all their junk and not pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t, how much Bible they read or don’t. What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder, for fear if things get too good – the other shoe’s gonna drop? What if they knew I will never, ever use the word punish in relation to them? What if they knew when they mess up, I never “get back at them”? What if they were convinced bad circumstances aren’t My way of evening the score for taking advantage of Me?What if they knew the basis of our friendship wasn’t how little they sin, but on how much they let Me love them? What if they had permission to stop trying to impress Me in any way? What if I told them they could hurt My heart, but I’d try never to hurt theirs? What if I told them there was no secret agenda, no trap door? If I told them it wasn’t about their self-effort, but allowing Me to live My life through them?And these are all His truths…what He does tell us through the N.T. Scriptures.Wow, I mean, think about what it would look like if we as Colonial Hills believed this to be true? How would our lives look differently when Satan attacked us with his lies and deception…his temptation…and his shame when we fell for it?I think it would change everything. I think we’d walk in so much victory. I think a lost and a dying world around us would be so attracted to us and hunger for what we have and are experiencing. May it be true!