July 20, 2021

Shame, Blame, Promises and Peanut

Written by Shana Schutte

Turning to God during heartache will give him space to work in your life.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 20, 2021

He heals the brokenhearted, and bind up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

My husband and I live in the Colorado mountains. There is one critter who has become special to me in our neighborhood: a squirrel I have affectionately named Peanut. This little guy started coming around the woods in our back yard last summer. I started giving him expert-approved nuts now and then and we became friends. Now, when I call his name, he comes bounding through the forest behind our house to meet me on our back deck. 

Last week, I heard Peanut chattering in the pine trees in the front of our home, so I called him to come down and meet me around back. 

After I gave him an almond, he perched on one of his favorite spots on our wooden deck railing and I went back inside the house to work. A while later, my husband called to me from the driveway where he was cleaning out the car.

“I just saw a fox go across the back yard with a squirrel in its mouth!”

“Noooooo!” I cried. “Oh nooooo!” Tears quickly flowed. I have a soft spot for all things: puppies, plants, foxes, babies, and bugs. If it’s alive, I love it—and this was my squirrel friend I have loved for 18 months through rain, snow, and sun.

“If I hadn’t called Peanut out of the tree, he wouldn’t have gotten eaten!” I sobbed. “I shouldn’t have ever done that! It’s my fault!” 

“Don’t blame yourself,” my husband said. “Maybe it wasn’t him.” He gently hugged me, wiped away my tears, and I went back into the house.

As I walked into the kitchen, I thought, “That’s it. I’m never getting attached to another animal again.” A few moments later, I walked out the back door to the deck, and there was Peanut, sitting on a branch in a big pine tree. “Oh! It wasn’t you! You didn’t get eaten!” I cheered. 

I know it sounds silly, all this fuss about a squirrel, but the whole experience got me thinking about how people naturally respond when they are emotionally wounded. They often resort to three human heart conditions just like I did when I thought Peanut had become a fox’s lunch: Shame, Blame, and Promises.

Whenever we get hurt, we can feel shame. “I’m bad.” Next, we blame ourselves or others “It’s my fault” or “It’s all their fault” and third, to cope with the pain of never experiencing something like that again, we make promises to protect ourselves, just like I did when I promised never to love any animals again.

The problem with shame, blame, and promises is that they take God out of our equation of  heartbreak, disappointment, or pain. And this means we miss His grace, comfort, healing, and redemption. And, when you’re busy protecting yourself from ever getting hurt again, you may miss the new blessings God wants to bring into your life. 

So, what does that mean for me and you? It means that instead of taking the shame, embracing or giving blame, and making unhealthy promises to protect yourself, the Lord wants you to give your pain to Him. He wants to heal you and come into your pain to give you perspective.

Turning to Christ during heartache will keep you from being robbed of God’s blessings. It will keep you from a hardened heart. It will keep the enemy from monopolizing on your hurt. And it will give space for God to work in your life.

So, I guess I will continue to open my heart to babies, bunnies, bugs, and squirrels. What does it mean for you?

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).


Lord, please help me to always give my pain to you rather than try to protect myself in unhealthy ways. Amen.


Pay attention the next time you are disappointed or emotionally hurt and stay away from shame, blame and promises. Give your hurt to Jesus instead.

Related Reading

Luke 4:18; Jeremiah 33:6; Hosea 6:1-2

Worship Resource

Hillsong – Healer


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  1. Thank you
    I had never observed that pattern in myself before. Shame, Blame and Promise.
    Will be paying attention to it in the future.

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