Dog shaming is funny but sometimes I feel like I am the one walking around with a sign around my neck. And people shaming is not quite as amusing. Some days I feel like the sign around my neck says, “I am fat because I am lazy.” Other days it may have nothing to do with weight. It may say, “I am a bad mom” or “I don’t love people the way I should.” Maybe yours says, “I am a liar” or “I mess everything up.”
We aren’t evangelizing like we should.
We don’t’ read our Bibles like we should.
We don’t pray as often or as fervently as we should.
We are dirty sinners, whose works, like filthy rags are worthless before God.
I once sat with a gospel preacher who said that “a public sin requires a public confession” (that phrase cannot be found in the Bible by the way). When asked what the purpose of that public confession was, he said that the person who was sinning needed to feel the weight and the shame of their actions as a deterrent to doing it again. And according to him, your sins could not be forgiven by God unless you confessed to everyone what you had done to “bring shame and reproach on the church” (again…not found anywhere in scripture).
Is there a place for Godly sorrow that produces repentance? Absolutely. (2 Corinthians 7:10) Is there a time when we should have our conscience pricked? Yes! (Acts 2:37) And is there a premise in the Bible that says we should try to restore our spiritual family to holiness when they are in sin? Of course. (Matthew 18:15). But we have never been instructed to cause another person to feel shame.
Growing up in a culture of shame affects you in a lot of ways. I’ve noticed that I am very quick to condemn myself and point out the areas where I need improvement. On the flip side it makes me feel prideful and arrogant to admit that I am good at something or have done something well. That combination is the perfect breeding ground for discouragement and for having a feeling of hopelessness. And that is exactly how Satan wants it to be. When he has you convinced that you are already defeated, why even try?
Well we should try because all of that “not good enough’ stuff is a lie. When you are trying your best to follow Jesus, God promises that your best is and will be good enough. Not because we are good in and of ourselves, but because Jesus died so that we can be saved despite our faults.
Once we can recognize our worth, only then can we realize our full potential. And not doing that is the only thing that we should be ashamed of.