Shame-based identity or Grace-based identity?

       In the midst of conflict or when I feel that I have failed in some way, I easily slip into a shame-based identity rather than a grace-based identity.

       Much of what I will write in this entry will be a repeat of some things I have written previously, but until I find my identity transformed from a shame-based identity to a grace-based identity I need to keep marinating myself in these truths.

       A shame-based identity believes that when I fail, I am a failure.  When I make a mistake, I am a mistake.  It is easy for me to go down that road.  Grace-based identity admits that I fail at times, but that doesn’t reduce me to a failure.  This is the truth I need to hold onto even though I easily feel the other.  I need to trust God’s grace more than my feelings of shame.

       At the core of the shame-based identity is ME: Who I am; what I have accomplished to validate my place in the universe; what I have done to prove my worth.  So when I succeed, I soar; but when I fail, I crash.  When I have earned the approval of others I am elated; when I fear that I have let others down I am deflated.

       At the core of grace-based identity is not me but the One who loves me and extends grace to me: Christ.  This changes everything for my worth is no longer contingent upon my accomplishments but on the never-ending-love of One who gave His very life for me.  As Henry Cloud points out in Changes that Heal, “None of us deserves love that comes our way; we don’t earn love.  It is given to us.  Approval can be earned, but love can’t….Our ‘lovability’ rests on the ability of the one doing the loving” (Kindle, location 3618). 

       The shame-based identity focuses on what I do to earn or lose one’s favor.  But love is not earned; it is given.  It is based not upon my ‘lovability’ but on the One doing the loving.  Grace-based identity focuses on the grace and love that are given by God.  God, help me to keep my focus on Your love over what I might earn or lose.

       Such a shift in orientation may allow me to take to heart the question Jim McManus asked at Kinnoull, “If I don’t see myself as God sees me, who has it wrong?” 

       A grace-based identity invites me to see myself as God sees me.  So…how does God see me?  Scripture tells me:
– I am made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1)
– I am fallen yet restored (Genesis 3 & 2 Corinthians 5:17)
– I am precious in God’s sight (Isaiah 43:4)
– I am a little lower than God and crowned with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5)
– I am reborn by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5)
– I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)
– I am the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19)
– I am God’s work of art (Ephesians 2:10)
– I am part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)
– I am the beloved child of my heavenly Father (1 John 3:1)

       God, help me to see myself with Your eyes of grace more so than with my eyes of judgment.


One response to “Shame-based identity or Grace-based identity?”

  1. MBPozdol says :

    Thanks for this short, simple and straightforward summary of a trap that unfortunately, holds many hostage.

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