Social media, Neighborhood RING camera Incident reports and Twitter feeds have made us experts at shaming.
We see something outrageous on Facebook (which happens approximately every minute), and folks immediately start lobbing those shame grenades.
“Jerk!” – “FOOL!” – “Boomer” – “Dumb Millennials”
“How could they DO such a thing?”
What a lousy scumbag!
Humanity has sunk to a new low!
They should be utterly ashamed!”
It feels SOOOOOO good in the moment.
So uplifting. So “self”-affirming.
As the shot of self-righteousness courses through us, we thank God that WE aren’t like those people.
We thank God that our moral standards are still intact in the face of the cultural onslaught.
We thank God that we, the MIGHTY remnant, still remain.
(Feeling a little sick right about now?)
And we don’t only play the shame game with non-Christians.
- We shame each other.
- We shame our children.
- We shame pastors who have imperfect marriages.
- We shame parents whose children have wandered away from the faith.
- We shame those who are struggling with being afraid, or who are still reacting to past abuses and are weak.
We treat shame like a spiritual weapon which we can use to bludgeon people back to Jesus.
But it doesn’t work. It never works.
Because we can’t shame people to repentance or godliness.
Trust me on this one point.
➡️ People absolutely know when you are tolerating them and their “lesser spirituality and smartness” about God’s ways of dealing with their issues.
And, they feel the burn of your shame and your smugness, implying that you know what they need. They also feel your cold hearted indifference when they are in pain over a conflict.
People think and behave like this, because in the moment, shaming makes some people feel powerful. Strong.
When we shame someone, we feel like we’re putting them in their place.
When we shame our spouses or co-workers or ANYONE, we feel like we’re controlling them.
When we shame those in the church, we feel like we’re keeping moral boundaries in place.
Shame is like a brush fire:
It’s very easy to start, very difficult to control.
And, in all truth, shame isn’t redemptive.
Shaming doesn’t bring believers closer together in fellowship.
Shame doesn’t lead believers in paths of repentance and standing is a humble place with God.
Instead, it actually causes people to hide.
It causes them to withdraw. To disappear. Shame is destructive and damning, rather than redemptive.
When we shame others, it puts us in the position of playing God.
People need to be contrite and deeply regretful for their sins against God.
That is the right kind of being a-shamed.
But God is the one who, by His Spirit, allows that conviction, upset, sorrow and shame in a person to be felt, for the purpose of leading them to repentance.
When we try to shame people, we are saying that they should be ashamed of their sins against us.
We are putting ourselves on the judgment seat and make up and determine from our opinion, what kind of judgement needs to be handed out.
SHAME!! HAMMER DOWN THAT PUNISHMENT!
Our places of service unto Christ whether as a teacher, a minister, a counselor, a pastor a nurse, musician, electrician, truly must be lived out honestly, in places and way where sinners can feel safe. Where those struggling with sin can find a refuge.
Where weary, worn-out sinners can find peace.
Yes, we will call them to repentance.
Yes, we will point them to Scripture.
But we will also make them feel safe, loved, and accepted.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 says it well!
“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
So do these verses…
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves,” Romans 15:1.
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions,” Romans 14:1.
God is the one who does the saving and inner working and he’s the one who does the changing.
When we forget this reality, we can sadly resort to shaming. This breaks not only the hearts of those in need of loving kindness, but inf fact, grieves the very heart of God.
Right now…. The people around us need Comfort, They Need someone to Listnen to their Fear, their Hurts, Their Sorrows.
They Need Help …..
Be the Help they Need in the Moment. Not a hammer.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad,” Proverbs 12:25.
“A man has joy in an apt and wise answer, and how delightful is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23.
“A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but harshness in it crushes the spirit,” Proverbs 15:4.
Let’s Pray about This Together Right Now.
Almighty Father God,
I pray that You would light a spark of true forgiveness and mercy in my heart.. towards all those that I have harmed or hurt, whether deliberately or unintentionally, knowing that it is not only Your will for me to show godly mercy towards others but also that I become an equal beneficiaries.. when my heart is flooded with mercy and forgiveness.
Root out I pray any lingering bitterness or malice that is lurking within my heart and may the godly fruit of mercy and love bud and blossom into the true fruit of righteousness — to Your honour and glory.
This I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.