i've been having a great conversation over email about our thought life and shame. I copied a bit of my last email to share:
'the answer comes for me in 'taking every thought captive'. this for me is the key to maintaining daily victory over my thought life.
one of the difficulties in dealing with this issue is that we confuse temptation with sin. temptation isn't sin, but we don't remember that, and the shame that is generated in us - compulsively causes us to feel like failures.
it's when we realize that even jesus was tempted, yet without sin, that we break the power of satan's lies and are able to 'take every thought captive'. if the shame kicks in before we realize it we are stuck in the cycle.
when i am tempted now i have a little ritual, and it seems to work. i use the example of jesus in the garden. i say, out loud (because the devil can't read your mind) 'get thee behind me satan, in jesus' name amen'. i know it sounds a bit simplistic or childish, but it really works. it allows me to 'take every thought captive'. sometimes i whisper it under my breath, and sometimes i scream it at the computer. there are many times i have to change location, turn off the tv, get a breath of fresh air, etc. but many times that little prayer ritual is all it takes to realign my thoughts, realize i'm being tempted and free myself from the shame that usually followed.
it is truly all about the shame.'
one of the things i was never taught at home or by the church was that there was a difference between guilt and shame. guilt comes from the holy spirit when we have sinned, it is natural and god given. shame comes straight from the pit of hell and causes nothing but pain and problems, addictions and sin.
guilt say, 'i've done something wrong', shame says 'i am wrong'. it's because of it's subtlety that it is so dangerous. satan wants me to believe that they are the same thing - but seperating them and realizing how insidious shame is that i began to see it's effect in my life.
guilt brings life, shame only death. guilt that has been ignored or neglected can lead to shame, but if i keep my lists short and make the amends i need to make i can live a life free of shame.