February, 2019

By Dan Newberry
Undeserved shame can keep us from receiving and giving prophetic words. Paul said he wished all of us would prophesy! We need to deal with the elephant in the room first.

Undeserved Shame is Prophecy's Enemy

Prophecy is a wonderful gift from the Lord, but I think it terrifies some people. That may be you.


Hearing the mind of the Lord is such an insight into what God is thinking...about your church, your country, and even about you. But sometimes getting a prophetic word directed at you can make you so fearful that you may say inwardly, "no thanks, I'll pass." That kind of fear most likely comes from a feeling of shame.


It's shame that hasn't quite been healed through God's grace. I've discovered over the years that shame needs to come off in layers. Only God knows (well, the devil probably knows too) how many layers there are and the origin of each one. Typically it began when we were growing up at home. For some of us we were never quite good enough. Then there were the school years and the torture that we can go through in that environment. Then as an adult it just keeps stacking up, sometimes because of the foolish decisions we make, but often it's because we've had a foundation of shame that started when we were young. And life, dreams, and thoughts have a way of magnifying all our shortcomings. Even church culture can add to the shame because of the expectations that can come with the turf.


To a person who lives with constant shame, prophecy can make you feel threatened that even God would expose that shameful part to everyone around you! Shame can skew our thinking about what kind of father God is. Perhaps it was because your dad had no problem with exposing your shame. GOD IS NOT LIKE A MAN.  He does not take joy in putting your shame on display. If God exposes sin, He does it because we refuse to acknowledge it to Him and ourselves. "But if we confess our sins He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn.1:9, NKJV). There is a big difference between cleansing and exposing. We can learn a lot about who God is and how He behaves, but the heart struggles with believing it until we deal with the shame we don't deserve.


There is such a thing as healthy shame.  Without it we wouldn't know we needed to repent. After the Holy Spirit convicts us and we repent, the shame is lifted, or so it should be. Shame can sometimes refuse to leave simply because we see ourselves still coming up short of God's expectation of us when He always sees us as a child in development. That's how a healthy parent views their child - they don't expect them to behave like an adult when they are still developing. So why are our self-expectations so high?


Space doesn't allow me to fully address this, but I will say it centers on a self-focus that drives us to feel better about ourselves. For some it gives them permission to judge others. "I'm hard on myself, which qualifies me to judge someone else." And in a twisted way we could feel better about ourselves if others are brought lower. See how shame can keep us in a dark place? Prophecy can scare a person who is protecting a dark place. But in reality a prophetic word is exactly what is needed! The Apostle Paul describes prophecy in 1 Cor.13 as edification, an encouragement, which uplifts a person. And a person that lives with shame desperately needs an encouraging word.


Then there is that person who goes looking for a prophetic word. Granted, the Holy Spirit can let a person know that a word is coming soon, but you don't need to find a prophetic word - it will find you. Typically a person often seeking prophetic words needs to feel better about him/herself. So they look for a word from the Lord that will hopefully change how they view themselves.  But you could end up finding a person who prophesies what's in your heart, just simply telling you what you want to hear. We can only change how we view ourselves by changing what we believe, and what we believe about ourselves should be based upon what the Word says and not upon what happened in our past. The past is under the Blood!


So the word from the Lord here is: Seek to prophesy and not to be prophesied to. And don't be afraid of prophecy either. Prophesy has a purpose in the Church. Undeserved shame has no place in the Church, specifically in you. Hopefully another layer of shame just came off!

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