The other day I did something stupid. I don’t want to talk about – its embarrassing. I was late to work because I had to lay on the couch for an hour with cold rag on my eye and I had to walk around the rest of the day with a visible mark.

As a pastor I get to talk to a lot of people who suffer under shame. Guilt is one thing – it reminds us of what we have done. Shame is a different animal – it goes after who we are.

As I went through my day I had two things going on. One was the pain from the injury. The other was from the embarrassment. There are times when you want a little sympathy and you hope that someone asked you about your injury. A self-inflicted wound is not one of those times.
I walked around hoping that no one would ask what happened. I sat in office and felt vulnerable like a sitting duck.

In sermons I often say

Guilt is feeling bad about what you did.
Shame is feeling bad about who your are.

Pastorally I have great concern for those who walk around everyday under the burden of guilt and shame. This little incident was a chance to come face to face with my ego and my image in a small way. Ever since then I have thinking about and reading up on pastoral counseling for those who are walking wounded.

I can’t help but but wonder if self-inflicted wounds don’t hurt twice as much. First at the place of pain and second at the outward embarrassment. It makes sense why it then become difficult to fulfill the encouragement of scripture to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) when we don’t want to show the wound or tell the story behind it.