Facing the Truth About Shame

Let’s face it: talking with someone about your addiction to pornography is difficult. Sometimes, it feels downright impossible.

How ironic is it that living in such a sex-saturated culture, we still find it awkward to be vulnerable and transparent about the sexual issues we’re having? I believe the reason for this lies not necessarily within the subject of sex, but in within the subject of shame.

Could it be that shame is really what we’re addicted to? The deep seated belief that we are the problem. That we’re unworthy. We’re unlovable.  This is the lie that addiction really sells us. We’re ushered in with feelings of pleasure and control. And before long we find that we’re not allowed to leave. We can’t escape because we feel trapped.

I’m convinced today this was the sole reason that I struggled for so many years without freedom. I not only felt shame. I believed what shame had to say to me.

There’s a fantastic new book being released in February from Carl Thomas, CEO of XXXchurch.com and founder of Small Groups Online. It’s entitled “When Shame Gets Real: A New Way to Talk About Sex, Porn, and Masturbation.” In the book, Carl shares how shame is the real threat to us. Shame has the ability to cripple a person for life. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Carl shares how living in shame prevents us from being fully present to our pain, our needs, and the real desires we have inside. And what we have to realize is that shame isn’t something to be ignored, but to be confronted. The more we ignore, the more we stuff, the more we pretend like something doesn’t affect us, the more we will spiral into our unwanted sexual behaviors. Why? Because we haven’t learned to confront shame.

Here are some common lies that shame tries to tell us:

LIE #1: Shame says you’re alone.

Please understand, NOTHING could be further from the truth. We as human beings not only live in a broken world…but we were born into brokenness and sin. We’re in need of rescue. And God did just that in His son Jesus. First and foremost, Christ is our rescue, our salvation, and our healing. I don’t know where I would be today without the saving power of Jesus in my life. But I also know that in my years of addiction, I wasn’t alone. In my recovery, I’m not alone. Because there are a countless number of other men who also share a similar story as me. Don’t allow shame to convince you you’re all by yourself and you have no hope of freedom.

LIE #2: Shame says you’re unlovable.

WRONG!!! This is one of the biggest whoppers out there. Unfortunately, so many of us have believed it at some point that our secrets stay hidden and we devolve even more. We believe that if people really knew us and our secret lives, they wouldn’t want anything to do with us. And it’s true, some may not. But those people who are safe and healthy will be able to see someone who’s in need of healing. For the longest time, I lived as a person who felt unlovable. I was afraid if people really knew the real me, I would lose everything. So I pretended, lied, and covered up the truth of my porn addiction, which only made things worse. Know this truth: You are loved — first and foremost by the One who created you and by so many others who are helping men and women find freedom every day.

LIE #3: Shame says you have no future.

I and millions of others are living proof that this is a lie. Today, I’m freer and healthier than I’ve ever been. What I didn’t realize for the 13 years that I was addicted was that my life was on a destructive path. And it wasn’t because of some kind of failure in God’s will and plans for my life, it was because of my unhealthy choices. choices. Shame attempts to call this out and direct our attention to it. Make us focus on it. Sell us the lie that we have no future. It took some pretty serious consequences in my life to unfold for me to realize the path I was on. I was living a truly diminished life. I wasn’t become the man God created me to be. But as I embraced the pain I was dealing with and the lies I was believing about myself, I began to find freedom. I did have a future…a very beautiful one at that.

Perhaps the title of this post confused you: “Facing the Truth about Shame”. Well actually, there isn’t any truth connected to shame at all, only the lies as described above. And it isn’t until we identify those lies that shame tries to convince us of that our eyes can be opened.

Small Groups Online is an excellent opportunity for you to confront shame with the help of other men and women who are doing the same! Remember, you are not alone! SGO offers you a weekly safe, secure, online meeting via Zoom which will help build healthy community in your life.

We also want to encourage you to check out Carl Thomas’ new book, “When Shame Gets Real: A New Way to Talk About Sex, Porn, and Masturbation”, which will be released in February.

Guest Post: Shame and Honor

Recently, one of the guys who attends a men’s support group that I lead was sharing about his week in the group and began to talk about the power of shame. But he didn’t stop there. He also shared about a power even greater that has the ability to transform: honor. I’m thankful that he was gracious enough to share these thoughts me in article form and gave me permission to share them with you. Thanks Daryl!


If you have struggled with a sexual addiction or brokenness, chances are high that you have also struggled with shame. Shame is that deep down belief that you are inadequate, insignificant, or defective. It’s a core belief of who you are based upon the things you have done or perhaps not done. And while shame can shape our lives, it never shapes it for the good.

I grew up with a heavy sense of shame and by the time I hit 20 years old I so identified with shame that I told others that shame was my middle name. How is that for assuming an identity of shame? So, when it comes to shame, and recognizing it as the primary tool the enemy uses in my life to take me down, I have learned a thing or two.

But shame is not the victor, because shame is a lie. We are not inadequate, insignificant or defective. The challenge is overcoming those feelings and not sinking into an identity of shame. And the pathway to overcoming shame is knowing the truth. Oh, so much easier said than done!

As someone who loves working with words, I often seek to understand what words that we often take for granted actually mean. And sometimes the best way for me to do that is to understand the opposite of a particular word. So, for example, the opposite of fear is faith. The opposite of confusion is clarity. The opposite of judgment is grace. You get the idea.

So, when it comes to shame, I was challenged to identify its opposite. But it is crystal clear. The opposite of shame is honor. Honor is not a word that we walk around using as being one of our core needs or desires, but it is. We want to experience honor from our peers, our colleagues, our wife, our kids, our community, and so on. Another word for honor is respect. It’s the belief that we have value.

The challenge is, we cannot just conjure up honor. It comes from our relationships. Are we honored among men? By our wives? By our children? By God?

The truth is, whether or not we are honored by others, we are honored by God. I love what Psalm 18:35 says. “You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.” Your help has made me great! Wow! Other translations say: “You stooped down to make me great.” That does not mean that God places us above himself. But he does honor us. In other words, he highly values us. He views us as incredibly priceless, significant, and worth taking whatever steps are necessary to be reconnected with us.

Psalm 62:7 says “My salvation and my honor depend upon God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.” When Jesus died on the cross, he did not just die to take away my sin, he also died to take away my shame. He did that by demonstrating that my life was so valuable that he was willing to come and die and pay my penalty so that he and I could experience relationship with each other, without anything being in the way. What incredible honor he has given us.

God did not look down on earth and pity our disgusting lives—labeling us with shame. He looked down and because of the value he places on our lives, did everything possible to demonstrate how valuable we are to him. He established that we are honorable enough for him to die for us so that we might be reconciled to him.

When we live in shame, we lose sight of the honor and value God has placed upon us. Not because we are in and of ourselves great. But because he has established us in his sight as great…honored.

Does shame consume you? Are you overwhelmed by the weight of shame? Fight that lie with the truth of honor. As wretched as we all are in our own brokenness, and whatever the shame we may face, his heart toward us is one of honor.


RELATED: 023: Goodbye Shame, Hello Honor

023: Goodbye Shame, Hello Honor

If you’ve walked through addiction long enough, you know that shame is a very real part of your life. It tries to convince a person they are worthless and hold no value. This is exactly what the enemy wants us to think, even though we know the opposite is true. Even though you are addicted, you are still loved and worthy of redemption and restoration. On this week’s podcast, Frank shares a letter from one of his recovery guys where he addresses the topic shame and honor in the of a recovering sex addict. We hope the truth shared in this podcast will help you find freedom in your life! Enjoy the podcast!




If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

Don’t Isolate During the Holidays

The holidays bring so much enjoyment, excitement, and plenty of hustle & bustle. But for many, it also brings stress, loneliness, even sometimes anger and bitter feelings. I’m encouraging the guys I work with (including myself) to not isolate during the holidays. If you catch yourself hiding behind the Christmas tree (isolating), ask yourself why. What’s going on in your heart that would cause you to hide and want to be alone? The potential for unhealthy things to happen only increases when we seclude ourselves from people. As cliche as it sounds, life truly does happen best in community. Every time. This year during the holidays, make sure you place yourself around life-giving people who want the very best for your life – people who will help draw you out of yourself. Not in intoxicating, self-harmful ways. But in ways of love, truth, and righteousness.