Friday, September 2, 2016

Book Review: Unashamed

Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame. Heather Davis Nelson. 2016. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Is Unashamed by Heather Davis Nelson a must-read? I'm tempted to say yes. I think the author is right in saying that everyone experiences shame in one way or another. In the book, she defines shame, differentiating between shame and guilt. She explores and discusses various types of shame. She openly talks about how past shame can be burdening down our lives and contributing to our ongoing sense of shame now. In other words, you can't bury your shame deep enough that it will stop affecting you. Ignoring it won't cure it. And she does this all through a biblical perspective. That's what I appreciate most. That's what I need--some big doses of the gospel. Jesus is front and center in this one, right where he belongs. And this book will likely touch many lives because of how truthful and forthcoming it is. It goes uncomfortable places, to be sure, it asks you to acknowledge things that you perhaps would like to keep hidden and buried forever. But there is the reminder that you are not alone, that you never have to be alone again. That shame--past, present, or future--is not your identity.

This is a book I think deserves to be read at least two or three times. Perhaps not every single chapter. But selectively. I think it would be a great book to read with a friend or in a group setting.

Table of Contents:
  • Introduction: Shame: Everyone Has It
  • Exchanging Shame for Beauty
  • Living Shamelessly Through Christ-Formed Community
  • Clothed in Christ: Body Shame
  • United to Christ: Social Shame
  • Free in Christ: Performance Shame
  • Response to Shame
  • Shame in Marriage
  • Shame-Free Parenting
  • Shame and the Church
  • Conclusion: A Shame-Free Destiny
Poor theology always leads to sinful practice, and sinful living is always rooted in poor theology--misunderstanding and misbelieving who God is, what the Bible teaches, and who Christians are.
I live my life according to a never-ending shame narrative. It must be interrupted by a better, truer narrative: a story that we've been telling alongside the stories of shame--the story of God's goodness, of his pursuit of wayward and shafe-filled and shaming people.
When we grow weary of fighting against shame, we often let it take up full residence in our lives, putting down roots into our identity so that we see ourselves as nothing but shameful.
We don't see shame as foreign, but as inherent to us... Shame is a foreign body. We are not to grow comfortable with our shame, or adapt to it through hiding and blaming. Shame's ultimate origin is no less dark than the Accuser of our souls himself, Satan.
We are to rewrite our shame stories moment by moment.
As someone created in the image of God and for the purpose of reflecting who God is, I am created to live before God alone. By his judgment, I stand or fall. And because my life is hidden with Christ, I stand!
Shame thrives in secrecy. It gains momentum in our heads as it spins around and around like a pinball, seizing our thoughts and then our emotions. It tells us to go far away from others, especially God.
We fight shame best when we talk to someone trusted about a shameful feeling, experience, or thought.
Freedom comes as I fix my eyes on Jesus, realizing that the cross is the focal point where my sin is forgiven and my shame is covered.
There was joy set before him, and so I can run freely after him in hope that his joy will also be mine one day.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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