Shame-filled to Shame-free

Christine unwrapped her sandwich, completely unaware of the scornful expressions on the faces of her Kindergarten classmates.  “Mmmmm . . . feta cheese and olive,” she thought, taking that first delectable bite.

“What’s that stinky stuff you’re eating,” wailed one boy, wrinkling his nose in disgust. “She’s eating Greek cheese!” someone announced.  “No wonder Greeks stink!”

Surrounded by scowling faces, Christine Caine was being schooled in shame, and even though her six-year-old self did not have a word to wrap around her feelings on that day, she spent twenty-two years of her life battling the feelings of rejection that came as a result of events that followed this early memory.  Ethnic bias, childhood abuse, and the perception that her Type A personality was unacceptable to her family and to her teachers taught her to hide her true self, and it became clear to her that shame had an agenda — a curriculum —  that would rule her life if she allowed it to:

  1.  Shame teaches you to hide yourself, to hunker down wherever you can find a wall of protection.
  2.  Shame pushes you down and prevents you from becoming all you could be.
  3.  Shame whispers lies to your soul about the character of God and His love for you.

Overcoming these lies has been a miracle of grace in Christine’s life, and she shares her journey in Unashamed, and then challenges her readers to come out of hiding and accept the very same grace that God offered to Adam and Eve when they responded to His call and emerged from their long-ago hiding place.  The fact that their Genesis 2:25 status of shame-free living came to a crashing conclusion when they disobeyed God reveals the connection between shame and guilt.  Brene Brown helpfully distinguishes between the two:

Shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.  .  . Guilt says, ‘You’ve done something bad.’ Shame says: ‘You are bad.’  There is a big difference between ‘you made a mistake’ and ‘you are a mistake.’

Christine summarizes it this way:

“Guilt is about my do.   Shame is about my who.”

Shame kept Adam and Eve hiding from God, rather than running to Him to deal with their guilt.

Enter:  The Gospel.

The rescuing truth is two-fold.  Romans 3:23 verifies our guilt; Psalm 139:14 testifies to our value and worth to God, and this is the truth around which we must shape our lives.  Christine calls the love of our crucified Savior “the key that will unfasten the shackles of shame.”

The same voice that coaxed Adam and Eve out of hiding invites you to be found and known.  The heart of compassion that brought the woman of Mark 5 out of hiding and into healing is found in the God who calls us “Daughter.”  He invites those who are tired of bleeding into His family where what is hidden in the dark is brought into the healing Light and loses its power.

Joining God in His work on this earth, Christine found Mercy and began living out the Truth that God could weave her leadership skills and her outgoing personality and her passion for ministry into His implementation of the Great Commission.

This did not happen overnight.

Overcoming fear of rejection, embracing her God-given power of choice to “move past her past,” looking at her future through a “resurrection lens” instead of a “shame lens,” and taking the risk of intimacy felt like coming out of a wilderness life and learning to live in deliverance and freedom.

Skillfully straddling memoir and manifesto, Christine shares lessons learned in the cauldron of leadership and the sometimes painful realization that “wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds.”  In her personal journey from shattered to restored, God has set Christine’s course on the path of forgiveness and growing trust.  Working to rescue victims of trafficking and to help women “internalize a leadership identity and fulfill their purpose, passion, and potential” has been Christine’s way of living out her identity in Christ and of demonstrating to the world that none of the pain she endured in her past was wasted.  God has redeemed it all, and the message of Unashamed invites women to set their feet on Truth, “unwavering in purpose and unstoppable in [the journey] from shame-filled living to shame-free living.”


This book was provided by Zondervan, through the BookLook Bloggers program, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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41 thoughts on “Shame-filled to Shame-free”

  1. Sounds like an amazing book! Recognize so much of what she shares as far as shame and rejection (being a foreigner in Germany between the ages of 4 and almost 10 and returning to New Zealand as a Germanified foreigner thereafter). God has been working to redeem this too.

    I’ve read an earlier book of hers and it was really good too. Thanks for this review. Think I’m going to have to add it to my list of must-reads.


    1. Christine has a handle on presenting the Gospel in such a moving way. Even those who have not experienced all that she (and you!) have endured will find that the book opens ones eyes to the truth in a fresh way. Thanks, Anna, for taking time to comment.


  2. Wow, thanks for this review. Those are powerful distinctions between shame and guilt. I’ve never heard it put so succinctly: Guilt is my do; shame is my who. This looks like it would be an awesome book.


  3. How many times can we all look back on our lives and recall the moments we felt as Christine has felt. Even at such a young age without even knowing how to label it. Interesting book from a personal testimony. Love that you shared it this week at Party at My Place. Happy Summer reading!


  4. That opening story… How does it start so young? What a fabulous book! Thank you for sharing it and this powerful message we all need to hear.


    1. Yes, that story is shared in the book, and I was riveted by it. Just had to include it in the review, because some people are set up before they even have a fighting chance.


  5. Michele,
    Guilt vs. Shame…Conviction vs. Condemnation…big difference. Always takes me back to Romans 8:1 – Therefore there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Thank you for this review and poignant reminder!


  6. I’ve always loved hearing Christine Caine’s teaching. Love how she boils it down: “Guilt is about my do. Shame is about my who.”

    Thanks for the reminder that shame tries to keep us from being all we’ve been called to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This book’s theme and your review of it shows clearly how the Lord moved in her life to defeat the shame that can so easily attach to us. So often it occurs when we are very young and our hearts and minds are malleable so that we accept lies as truth. Thanks as always for a review that leaves my mouth watering!


    1. Yes, this was truly an act of the Lord Himself. I thought of you as I was writing the review, because of your ministry of counseling. I’m sure you deal with a lot of women who need to hear the voice of God calling them out of hiding.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve heard somewhere that shame is like a cancer to our soul. It can kill us slowly without us realizing it. It’s good to release ourselves of shame and self-loathing and be truly free. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the review, Michele. ” Wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds” may I never be a wounding person. Thanks for sharing the review with Thankful Thursdays.


  10. Every time I read your posts my list of books to read just gets longer! This book sounds amazing though- and such an important topic to explore. I love the insight that “wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds.” Thanks for a great review- I definitely want to read this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Shame is such a toxic thing! I’m glad to hear Christine broke free of it. The gospel of Jesus is such a healing balm for whatever our wounds. Thanks for sharing this book, Michele! And this hope.


  12. Wow, that sounds like an amazing book. I love the distinction between shame and guilt. While the right kind of guilt will lead us to repentance and joy, shame only causes more shame. Thanks for this great review!


  13. This sounds wonderful. I may have to pick up that book. Shame is one of the biggest tools that the enemy has to use against us, and for good reason. It works. It’s just not as powerful as the blood of Christ, and we can be so so thankful for that! Thanks for sharing this book!


    1. Aren’t you sweet to ask – I’m working full time this summer at a bank. Trying to figure out how all the puzzle pieces are going to fit. Always encouraged by your words, Susan.


  14. Another amazing book I SOMEHOW need to find time to read! You and Valerie Murray keep my book pile growing taller and taller! I love Christine Caine, Michelle. Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing this particular one at Moments of Hope. Freeing ourselves from shame is so important to living hope-filled, freedom packed lives!!!
    Blessings and smiles,


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