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Breaking Free from Blame and Shame (“BS”)

by | Apr 15, 2024

Most people’s automatic response to pain is either blame, which focuses on the ways others have hurt us, or shame, which dwells on our own mistakes. Either choice distracts us from our purpose, limits our potential, and prevents us from doing the right next thing. 

No matter what we have experienced, and regardless of the choices we have made, we always have the choice now to move forward and beyond “the BS.” In Jason’s words, “as long as I’m alive, I still have a choice.” (16:18) 

In episode 8 of our Rethreading Lives podcast, Jason and Kristin had a conversation about how not to let blame and shame get in the way. Here are a few practical lessons we can all apply to live more intentionally.

Identifying blame and shame 

The first step, which is often painful, is to look at our lives and realistically identify the patterns of blame and shame that control us. (44:23) In Kristin’s words, “where do you have stones in your heart? Where do you need to sit with your pain for a while?”  

To find shame, Jason suggests (44:53) asking ourselves, “what am I ashamed of and what am I still talking ugly to myself about?” To identify blame, Jason recommends that we ask “who am I still blaming for other stuff in my life? When am I going to stop doing that?” (45:23) 

Moving Beyond the “BS”

Once we can name our blame and shame, it’s time to make the next right choice. This requires us to set our eyes on a vision of what we want our lives to be like, free from the weight of blame and shame, and then commit to paying the price to get there. (25:03)

Sometimes the price is, as it was for Christ, a broken heart (26:18). In choosing to die to himself and surrender his right to defensiveness, he fulfilled his purpose. We reflect that power when we choose forgiveness over anger, repentance over condemnation, redemption over victimhood, and purpose over selfishness. We will never do this perfectly, but we can give ourselves grace, accept the grace of God, and continue trying our best (13:55).

Anything can be rethreaded 

Our world is a broken place, often filled with hurtful realities, but it’s also full of the potential for hope and restoration. That’s why we believe that anything can be rethreaded. (14:40) 

Anyone who has hurt others can choose to accept the consequences and repent, writing a different story from that moment forward. Conversely, if someone has been hurt, they can make the choice to forgive the person who has hurt them, offering freedom to both parties.

It is in the context of these messy situations, when someone chooses a relationship over pain or their “right to be right,” that the most beauty comes from our broken threads. And in these intentional choices, lived out day after day, we find freedom from blame and shame.

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