A few weeks ago I saw something in the face of my son that I have experienced in my own heart a million times over; shame. He had just done something that was rather inappropriate and it was exposed. Nothing horrible, mind you, he’s only four. So the things he is ashamed of are things like losing at Beyblade or accidentally running through the house naked when we have company over. But he still experiences shame. And on that day he wore it on his face. It broke my heart.
That same heart break was heightened for me over a period of time as I reflected on the first few chapters of Ed Welch’s book Shame Interrupted. Welch takes the reader places that you probably do not want to go. In the second chapter, Shame Exposed, Welch uncovers the mask and asks probing questions to help the reader identify shame. I checked almost every one of them.
Shame has (or maybe I should say “had”) become a major part of who I am as a person. Those first chapters exposed things that I had preferred to stay in the darkness. The Spirit of Freedom used the writing of Welch to pry those things into the light. Reading through those first few chapters of Shame Interrupted was very difficult.
I knew where Welch was going with this and it felt like he couldn’t get there fast enough. But he kept probing and twisting and exposing. Yes, in order to be healed it must be exposed. And that is what Welch did.
Finally, Welch takes the reader to Jesus for healing. For the next two hundred or so pages the reader is shown how Jesus relates to our shame and ultimately how he transforms it and in the process transforms us.
Honestly the format of the book is a little difficult to track. I think that a clue is given in chapter 20 when Welch speaks of the “basic rhythm of life with the new King and in the new Kingdom”. He notes that this rhythm goes like this:
Put your shame into words.
Turn to your rescuer
Be associate with him.
Get your feet washed.
Persevere—get ready to fight.
Turn towards others: Love.
That is the basic structure of the book. After exposing our shame and helping the reader “put it into words”, Welch spends the remainder of the book assisting the reader in that turn towards Jesus. The book seems to be a little less intentional about outlining what it looks like to “turn towards others” but those principles are smattered throughout the reading.
I read this book a few months ago. Normally, I review books pretty quickly after reading them. This book was different. It was one of those life shaping books. Those first few chapters came to me at a unique time in my life when I had just finished reading a few other books that were related to an issue from my past that I preferred to keep buried.
Honestly, the book tormented my soul. Not for anything Welch did that was in error. This was a necessary bruising that I was enduring. Eventually, I was able to begin the process of healing and plod through the rest of the book. I wish that I could say that this book provided healing by pointing me to Jesus. I think that perhaps it could have—but the Lord chose to use other means to provide healing. He used Welch to provide the exposing and painful side of healing.
Welch does do an apt job of presenting Christ. If you came to this book raw with shame and were able to quickly go through the first six or seven chapters I think you would find immense healing. But as it was, I came to the book somewhat cold and deadened to these events of the past. I couldn’t quickly jaunt through those first six or seven chapters. The Lord had me in a spot ripe for exposure and he used Welch to shine the light on my shame and force me to face it.
Should You Buy It?
I highly recommend this book. I would have preferred it to be a little bit shorter and hope that in the future CCEF comes out with a condensed version. That would be easier to giveaway in counseling sessions. As it is 352 pages can be really daunting to give to somebody.
If you think that you do not need this book you probably do. I doubt there will be a large line at the bookstore of people waiting to purchase a book that will completely ravage your soul, but it is necessary. Your shame needs to be exposed.
If your shame already has been exposed and you want to know how to find healing in Jesus then Welch is a great guide to point you to the Savior. I believe that you will find healing in this book—or better yet, be warmly introduced to the One that will provide ultimate healing.
I also invite you to check out the trailer for the book: