Shaming is a strategy that is used in shame-culture countries to control and manipulate. There are a couple types of shaming that are used. It's a little difficult at first to identify shaming because it masquerades as morality and righteous correction. Some shaming is open and vocal, while others shame quietly. All shaming is manipulative and destructive.
Shaming hides inside a mist called cultural practice. The mist swallows up the victim, causing him to believe that he is the problem and not the perpetrator of shame. Shaming creates a power imbalance where the perpetrator (shamer) becomes the bully who has power over the victim. The victim believes that he deserves the shaming.
When used by pastors, parents and teachers, shaming is like pouring poison onto the petals of a flower. It's like the gardener slowly killing his plants. With each careful drop of shame, the flower wilts and weakens. Shaming creates an unhealthy self-hate and destroys trusting relationships.
People usually shame with good motives. They think, "If I shame this person, he will choose the right path next time." Shaming can cause that person to make the right choice later, but the choice is negated by the ill effects of the shame. Shame can breed fear and unhealthy guilt, rather than birth trust and repentance.
"But," you may be thinking, "how about guilt and shame because we're all sinners?" Good question.
There is only one Being in the world that is qualified to convict a person of shame and guilt: God. The Holy Spirit is kind, firm, and exact. He knows just how much knowledge of one's shameful, guilty condition is required to wake up a sinner to his need for Christ as Savior. The Holy Spirit produces a "godly sorrow, which leads to repentance." But, the world produces a "sorrow which leads to death." It is true that sinners should feel shame and guilt for being rebels against God. And, this is the job of the Holy Spirit.
It is my belief that a saint no longer has any shame or guilt to live with because all of the shame and guilt was absorbed by Jesus Christ on the cross. Vanquished! As a child of God, a believer now lives in relationship with his Heavenly Dad. When he feels guilt and shame, he needs to look to Jesus Christ and find peace, discipline, and restoration from His Dad's loving hand.
We shouldn't mistake the Holy Spirit's voice of rebuke for shame. I believe that the Holy Spirit always speaks the truth in love to the kids in God's family. Sorrow for one's sins and humility in seeking forgiveness is different than shame, I believe.
So, where did the shame go for a believer? Into Jesus Christ on the cross.
Hebrews 12:2 "Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Does the Holy Spirit give you shame? No, He gives you joy, hope, and pours into your heart love. We can trust Him not to shame us.
Romans 5:3-4 "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Psalm 25:2 "O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me." Again, it is really important to differentiate between shame and humility. Humility is openly recognizing the truth about your situation. A Christ-follower is a saint who sins, so he should be truthful about his weaknesses. Shame attacks the identity of the saint and assaults the worth of Christ to absorb the shame for the sin that the saint is being truthful about.
Part of sanctification is realizing our identity as children of God and giving our shame to Christ. As we trust in Christ to have removed our shame, we will realize joy and hope. Trust is the opposite of fear. And, acceptance as a saint is the opposite of shame. Do you believe that? Or, do you continue to live in shame? Or, do you continue to shame the saints?
Isa 54:4 Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither shall you be confounded; for you shall not be put to shame: for you shall forget the shame of thy youth, and shall not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. 5 For your Maker is your husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
Discipleship is teaching believers to believe and live truth-filled lives that are authentic to their identity as holy children of God, saints seated in God's royal throne room with Christ Jesus.
Here are some tips for pastors:
1. Always remember that you are speaking for God to His royal children.
2. Be gentle, firm, timely, and loving in all of your speech and preaching.
3. Model humility... Deal with your own shame, if you have any.
4. Help the saints be delivered from the shame that they carry with them.
5. Don't shame the sheep... shepherd the sheep!
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.