Dispatches

Victory Over Self–Hate

Christine Caine Shares Her Story So Women Can Recover Their True Identity

How subtle and insidious are the inroads of sin. How pinpointed its focus. It targets the foundation of human potential, aiming to thwart the development of our God-given identity. Author Christine Caine charts how the strategy of the adversary — Satan, the father of lies — cut at the very roots of her sense of self. In her new book, Unashamed, Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny, she reaches out to women who have internalized mistreatment and misunderstanding and as a result carry an overpowering sense of self-condemnation and shame. By walking readers through her own journey to discover her true identity in Christ, Caine provides women with guideposts so they too can escape from such self-defeat. 

Caine’s road to shame was more like a superhighway. As a young girl she was ostracized as early as kindergarten for being of Greek descent in her native Australia. Growing up, she chafed against the expectation to gracefully accept the roles assigned to females according to cultural traditions. Her favorite pastimes included sports and reading books. She welcomed new learning experiences, leadership opportunities and athletic involvement, but was not encouraged to stand out or pursue her interests. And she harbored in her earliest memories a dark secret. Unbeknown to her parents, she was the victim of sexual abuse in her own home. Like many victims, she kept the secret to herself, thinking she was somehow complicit in it, and was left to feel ugly and alone.

The author does not provide a quick fix to the shame she bore. Her victory over it was hard won. She now is determined to help women with similar burdens understand what it fully means that Christ “shamed our shame.”

“For those of us recovering from shame,” she writes, “so much of our wounded will and emotions come spilling out as behaviors to compensate for what happened in our past … What part of your soul do you have hidden away in a double-padlocked impenetrable safe?”

Caine offers a helpful delineation between guilt and shame. “Guilt says: ‘You’ve done something bad.’ Shame says, ‘You are bad.’” As psychologists Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener write in The Upside of Your Darkside, guilt can lead people to learn from their mistakes and do better, but people who feel shame suffer: “Shamed people dislike themselves and want to change, hide or get rid of their self.”

Caine links both experiences to the biblical account of human origins. “What does it say about humankind that our very first recorded dialogue with God contains words of fear, hiding, and blame? It says that when sin entered the world, we immediately had a sinful, broken response to one another and to God.”

While Caine writes for women, her message can inform males as well who don’t have the tools needed to decipher the shame-producing consequences of sinful words and actions to which they have been subjected. Her message is timely, given today’s ongoing debates about gender identity and sexual stereotyping, and the dramatic increase in the trafficking of persons that claims millions of victims.

Unashamed reads well because the author’s words are straightforward and authentic. It can help women reach the freedom and fullness that Jesus came to share, and does so while acknowledging that such freedom is attained through the challenging and sometimes painful process of growing self-awareness.


© 2016 by Christine Caine. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI. Available at CBD.com. Accompanying workbook also available.   

Christine Caine founded Propel Women, an organization that “honors the calling of every woman, empowering her to lead, equip her for success and develop her God-given purpose,” with her husband Nick (who co-founded A21, a leading organization in abolishing human trafficking and injustice). Learn more at www.propelwomen.org

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