19 September 2011

Shame...does it even exist?

Here are some definitions to help, if you need them. These are from this website: Shame "Shame is closely related to, but distinct from guilt. While shame is a failure to meet your own standards of behavior, guilt is a failure to meet other's standards of behavior. Shame tell us “you have not done your best” guilt tell us “you have harmed another, you have not been compassionate, you have ignored the golden rule.” Shame is personal, while guilt is public. Shame reflects on the “human being”, and guilt reflects on the “human doing”.

Many words in our vocabulary describe forms of shame. They often differ in the intensity of the shame they express, but the basic archetype is the same. Here is a partial list, in approximate order from the most mild to the most intense: uncomfortable, uneasy, embarrassment, chagrin, self-blame, feeling guilty, humiliation, dishonored, feeling ridiculous, self-condemnation, self-reproach, mortified and “toxic shame”. Honor is the absence of shame."

What prompts this tonight? I spoke with Pastor Ruth at the Revival Life Centre in Penshurst tonight. I preached there about Jesus and the Jewish Day of Atonement. The teaching was well received. I'm sure there is a podcast of it on their website. Or there might be one. OK, I'm not sure.

That said, what Ps Ruth and I spoke of was a line in the Bible she found about dressing like a prostitute. I don't know the reference, but she had just read it. The discussion that followed involved conversation about manufacturers and women's necklines, cleavage, and embarrassment about a wedding dress she had seen.

I get it.

Earlier today, a warm sunny spring day in Sydney, I was in a Maccah's in Sutherland to use the wi-fi. Every 10 minutes or so another group of teenagers came into the cafe and wore even less clothing than the group before them. It was more and more unnerving.
Shame. They didn't have it at all. Young boys and girls were very comfortable scratching in private areas in public, exposing themselves in inordinate ways, and even as I say this, I wonder when I became my father or grandfather. Maybe I've always been so, but lately I'm more attuned to this. And the level of comfort in bad behaviour might be owing to 2 and a half men or the media in general or to lazy principals at school or to 100 little reasons, but end of the day, it has to stop.

Daniel the prophet said as much, 2500 years ago: quoted in chapter 9 verse number 8 “Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee."

But shame is not necessarily the end of our emotions and conclusions. It is reparable. If we are honest and repent. Then God looks with kindness on us, as His word declares.

Shame was dumped on Y'shua, like all our sins and failures. He took our sins on himself. "He became sin who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him." That's a great exchange! And again, "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Let's get it right. Let's live in humility and modesty and not in shamelessness. But even if we do feel ashamed; if we do fall short of God's standards, let's honestly repent and receive the forgiveness that is offered us in the Beloved. Amen?

5 comments:

i.love.jesus said...

PRAISE JESUS AND BLESS YOU FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL PIECE ABOUT 'SHAME'. WE FOUND IT ENLIGHTENING.

jesus is my lover said...

I too, see teenagers dressing inappropriately and i am disgusted by their lack of 'shame'!

pork on the fork said...

I LOVE JESUS!

i am the prophet said...

I AM JESUS, HEAR ME RAWR!

jesus is my saviour said...

shame, i love this piece from the blog. The passage from the prophet Daniel, moved me deeply in an emotional, spiritual and physiological way. Praise Jesus. Amen