Tag Archives: inappropriate shame

Shame, Part II

29 Apr

Shame, Part II

I used to love this song by Sonny Bono when I was a teen.

I think all of us occasionally face people in life whose way of gaining control involves mocking others.

It may not even be a personal thing.  It so often is not.  That person feels so diminished, so voiceless that she mocks someone else for the attention it brings!

Or . . . someone can honestly hate something about us that is not evil.  She just hates our laugh, or the way we stand, or the way we bounce up and down when we get excited . . .

Whatever that characteristic is that gains us mockery, if we are not sinning, we need to just let the mockery go.  It doesn’t diminish us.  It diminishes the person who sees the need to be a mocker.  People get that.  Oh, yes they do.

I was stunned not long ago when someone who has been a close friend for years made an age joke at my expense in front of a crowd of people.  In fact, I was so stunned, I asked for clarification.  And, yes, it really was about 55-year-olds acting in an “age appropriate way.”

Just what is that?, one might ask.  Her take was that we should be slow and sedate.  At least slower and more sedate than I am, apparently.


I don’t think, with my tendency toward ADHD, that is gonna happen.  And I don’t think I am gonna try to conjure it up to please my friend and her definition of age appropriate behavior.

Sometimes ya just gotta let it go.

I trust that anyone in that crowd who laughed at me will reconsider when they see me living in integrity toward them, despite the jokes at my expense.

If not, mockery can function as an awfully good filter, to show you who your true friends are!!!



Shame, Part I

29 Apr

Shame can happen over one of two things, shame for who we are or shame for what we have done.

When we say that shame is a bad thing, we have to differentiate between those two causes.

Shame is indeed bad , and debilitating, when it is over who we are.  It can also often be used as a method of control by others when we are subject to shame over our identity, over “who I am.”

Shame over “what I have done”, however, can be very appropriate and very restorative.  Acknowledging something rotten we have done–owning it–can be a step on the pathway to getting right with God.

I aim to never, ever cause a person shame for who she is.  But the older I get, the less likely I am to hold back about rotten deeds. This is especially true if I can be fairly sure that there will not be reprisals for calling someone out, although that should not be my primary concern either.

Today, for example, while my husband and I were out walking, we had to cross a major road at the time of the day that buses were picking up high school kids.  Three buses were stopped up the road from us, all headed away from us, all with their pick up lights on. Happy to see that I could cross the road without oncoming traffic, I hurried toward it.

But, no!  Someone had to bypass the law and come at me, past three stopped schoolbuses.  I had to wait for him to get by or I would have been hit myself.  Jerk!

I believe I actually had my index finger in the air, pointing at those three stopped buses.  I know the man could see my mouth moving, even though he could not hear me through his rolled up window.  I didn’t stop yelling at him until he had passed by.  Not name-calling.  Not condemning who he is.  But condemning what he had done. To save a minute, he had run the risk of hitting a student getting on a bus.  Or me!

That is appropriate shaming and that would have been appropriate shame, had he felt it.  Maybe he did.  Maybe the next time he wants to drive past a stopped schoolbus, he will remember the 55-year-old lady pointing at him in his selfishness.  That would be good.

After all, I have been told I have gotten very good at delivering “the look.”

May I always deliver it for what someone has done; never for what he is.

What is Shame?

19 Oct

I personally do not believe in saying, “You should be ashamed of yourself.” That statement never produces change in the person hearing it. How much better to realize we all stand condemned before the righteous Son of God and to show appropriate humility and willingness to help people change, as we all need to do.

Tabernacle for Today

I Corinthians 4:13, 14:  Being defamed, we entreat:  we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.  I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

I Corinthians 6:5, 6:  I speak to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?  no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

Hebrews 12:2:  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What is shame?  When someone says, “You should be ashamed of yourself” what is that person requiring, or trying to require, of…

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