In the garden of Eden, in the last verse before the fall, here’s the description of Adam and Eve in the blessed state of paradise:
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Gen 2:25 ESV)
“Not ashamed” seems an odd choice. He could have said “joyously jubilant” or “blissfully blessed” or “frolicking in faith.” But “not ashamed”—a negation of a negative—is foreshadowing what is to come.
At the fall, guilt and shame enter the world. Guilt is about what you’ve done; shame is about who you are. And it’s there in Genesis 2, right on the cusp of the fall, because shame is at the center of the story of redemption.
Curt Thompson unpacks the centrality of shame in the biblical narrative and the way it and shapes our story. He explores the way it impacts our brain and affects our soul.
Shame says, “I am not enough. There is something wrong with me. I am bad. I don’t matter. Sooner or later they’re going to discover what a fraud I am. I do not have what it takes.”
But shame isn’t just a condemning thought. Shame is felt, sensed, and imaged in a way that it settles deep into our story and corrupts our relationships disintegrates our work and steals our joy. Thompson says shame is ubiquitous and shape-shifting.
Shame finds a home in the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. Those stories began before we were born. They began with our parents, or grandparents, or family friends. At some point those stories begin to include shame.
We tell stories because we are narrative creatures. We tell stories because we live in one big story. Curt Thompson says that since shame gets interwoven in our stories, the way shame is undone is through retelling our story.
Retelling our stories with safe people, in a place where we are known and loved, begins to reshape the meaning of the story. It replaces our shame with connection. It replaces our hiding with being known. It replaces our isolation with community.
This book is a journey into the deeper parts of your soul. Curt Thompson lays out the path to healing shame through connection in community that will actually rewire your brain. It can be a part of our own journey as we await the new heavens and new earth, where, one day, shame will be no more.