Shame – a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong. : ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment. : dishonor or disgrace. Merriam Webster Dictionary
It has been a very interesting on social media today.
On a Homeschooling site a woman posted about wanting feedback on how to deal with a 12 year old daughter who had been disrespectful. I related how my mom dealt with me when I smarted off (Tabasco sauce on tongue and getting my mouth washed out with soap.) One young lady responded that she was sorry that I had gone through such an ordeal. I replied that my mom was a great mom who loved me and that I was glad she hadn’t put up with my disrespect. The comments kept going back and forth between the two of us with the other girl stressing how it was wrong to “shame a child” and that shame was unbiblical. I responded that there was nothing wrong with good old fashioned shame, that it is a good deterrent to not repeating bad behavior. There is bad shame and then there is biblical shame which is good and beneficial.
I don’t think there is any worse emotion to experience than shame. I remember two distinct incidents in my past when I felt real shame and it made me never want to repeat them:
- The first was when I almost (ALMOST) shop lifted a bandanna out of a store at the age of 13. The store manager walked up to me and asked me if I was going to purchase it. I remember the heat of shame washing over me and of course I bought it and never ever did anything like that again. I truly felt ashamed and I should have.
- The second time was when I was complaining about someone at camp when I was a kid and didn’t realize she was standing two feet away from me and had heard it all. I felt total shame and I should have. I really hurt her feelings and there was nothing I could say or do to make up for it.
I think there is great value to be had in people feeling genuinely ashamed for behaving in a bad manner. You can see the results in the breakdown of our society everyday. Liberal college students have no shame destroying public property and physically assaulting anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
The LBGT community has no problem flaunting every sort of perverted behavior in gay pride parades (nudity, reenacting sexual acts etc.)
On a message string, there was a holier than thou, sanctimonious pharisee-type person pointing a finger of condemnation at fellow Christians he didn’t know at all and trying to shame them for being hearers of the word and not doers. Mind you the topic that prompted this guy’s tirade was a mom asking for prayer for her Christian son who longs to have a godly relationship with a nice Christian girl. This guy hijacked the entire conversation and has been lambasting everyone on there for being “carnal Christians”. In his case, the attempt to shame us all for imagined transgressions has backfired. He is still pointing the finger at me at this moment and I’m just not going to respond to him anymore. It’s pointless. He thinks he’s the only Christian on earth living his life the way Jesus would approve of.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s right to humiliate a child for the sake of humiliation but if there has been willful disobedience, oppositional defiance and blatant disrespect to one’s loving parents then I’m all for discipline that includes a healthy dose of shaming.
Below is a link to a post from Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s website that expresses more eloquently the value of shame in civilized society than I could ever say it.