Our body language tells our secrets even when we think we’ve got them all under wraps! For example, body language experts say that when women feel shame, they may become small in posture by slouching or turning away. They may avert their eyes, kind of like a baby covering her own eyes and imagining she’s hiding. The experts describe the body language of shame as an attempt to be invisible or an effort to hide. Wishing she was invisible? Longing to hide? That has to be exactly how the woman who had been caught in adultery felt when she stood before Jesus.
Jesus had been teaching in the temple when some scribes and Pharisees dragged in a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and set her in the center of the court.
If she was caught in the "very act," it doesn't take much imagination to conclude that the poor woman probably wasn't fully dressed and there she stood — exposed, alone, and isolated.
That's what shame does. It sets us in the center of our thoughts and makes us feel like we are the only one.
Shame sets you in the center of your thoughts: I'm the worst. I'm the only one who struggles with this stuff.
Shame scolds: I am so stupid. When will I ever learn?
Shame separates: It isolates you from truth and makes you feel worthless. No wonder a woman who feels shame wants to hide.
But, here's the deal ... shame is often confused with guilt even though they aren't the same things. Guilt is a response to what we do. Shame is a response to who we are.
Here's a way to tell the difference between guilt and shame: guilt is a result of conviction which will lead to coming clean and receiving forgiveness. Shame brings condemnation that leads to further isolation and self-contempt.