"Help! I Feel Ashamed" by Sue Nicewander. A Review

Help! I Feel Ashamed by Sue Nicewander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this tiny, 62 page booklet, at a conference I attended recently on abuse and how to help the abused. Sue Nicewander, a certified biblical counselor and executive director of Biblical Counseling Ministries (BCM) in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, tackles the potent feelings of shame in a very readable format, following "Shannon" and "Gwen" as they face their distinct senses of shame.

Nicewander does a good job distinguishing between sin-shame and provoked-shame. Sin-shame is the legitimate kind of shame we should rightly feel for going against God's Word. Provoked-shame is the shame foisted on a person through the another's actions, attitudes or abusiveness. Sometimes the two get intertwined together, and takes some thought to tease them out and address them appropriately. But the remedy for both is found in Christ, who he is, what he has done and is doing for us.

One further distinction Nicewander makes that I thought was beautifully put. There is a huge difference between shame and humility. Humility is focused on God and caring about others, and is based on God's grace and reaches out with God's grace. But "shame denies grace and perpetuates misery." And so the author correctly notes that you "cannot be humble and full of shame at the same time. To chose one is to exclude the other" (41-2).

The main weakness of the mini-book is that twice the author mentions charts, and there are none in the pamphlet. It appears that there were two charts in an earlier edition. After a little snooping around, I found that both charts are on the publishers site and can be downloaded for free.

This is a decent little booklet ideal for anyone who is struggling with shame. It would make a great addition to a church's book table. It would also be a worthwhile assignment for counseling homework. I highly recommend it.

You can pick up copies here: "Help!"

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