I would like to offer a few words in support of shame. In fact, as it is Thanksgiving season, I give thanks for God’s gift of shame.
Shame has fallen out of fashion of late.
I’m thinking of Monica Lewinsky’s anti-shame campaign. In addressing her media and on-line treatment when her relationship with President Clinton became public, she now equates shame with bullying.
While I agree with her, insofar as people have no business shaming others, the concept of shame, when applied to oneself, is a blessing.
God gives us a sense of shame so we’ll feel badly when contemplating or doing something wrong. If we ignore the uncomfortable feelings and follow through with the act, it can, and should, lead to remorse and repentance.
Shame is the manifestation of conscience. Without it, we become sociopaths and our behavior depends on external consequences and opinions.
While Bill Clinton’s abuse of his power to exploit and seduce a young, inexperienced woman is indefensible…if anyone deserved public condemnation is it he…Monica is wrong when she says she had no reason to feel ashamed of her own actions. Yes, she was a victim; she was the victim of manipulation and temptation. However, she was not overcome by force. She was seduced into compliance by an unscrupulous, powerful man, but succumbing remained an act of choice. Shame should follow such conduct.
As Christians, we are to look for the specks in our own eyes, rather than condemn our neighbors’ failures. The people who excoriated Monica Lewinsky, making her life so miserable, were wrong. For that they should be ashamed.
Just as the ability to feel physical pain protects us from unwittingly harming ourselves, a well-developed conscience and sensitivity to a feeling of shame are blessings.
Now thank we all Our God.
On a personal note (shame on me for blatant self-promotion?) my most recent book of Christian fiction, A Body in the Belfry by J.B.Hawker, will be available in all formats December 1. The Kindle and other digital reader formats, regularly priced at $4.99, will be temporarily reduced to 99c for a few weeks following the launch.