Shame Topical Study

<h2 class="heading-lg"><strong>What does the Bible say about shame?</strong></h2><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 2:25</a>, Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 3:7</a>, &quot;Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 31:11-12</a>, &quot;<span class="body-copy">I have passed out of mind like one who is dead.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Matthew 27:31</a>, Jesus was mocked and crucified</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Luke 15:18-19</a>, &quot;Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands&quot;</span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Warning and comforts</h3><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 3:21</a>, &quot;The L<span class="small-caps">ord</span> God made garments of skin for the man and his wife, and clothed them.&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 3:3</a>, &quot;You, O L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 30:1</a>, &quot;I will exalt you, L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Isaiah 42:7</a>, &quot;They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame&mdash;those who trust in carved images, who say to cast images, &#39;You are our gods.&#39;&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Mark 8:38</a>, &quot;Those <span class="body-copy">who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Ephesians 4:1</a>, live a life worthy of the calling</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Hebrews 12:2-3</a>, Jesus disregarded the shame of the cross</span></li></ul><h2 class="heading-lg"><strong>Sermon ideas about shame</strong></h2><p><span class="body-copy">&quot;Distress<span class="body-copy">at our deficiencies, deformities, or absurdities&quot; may include an appropriate shame over our sin. Sin is, after all, spiritual deficiency, deformity, and absurdity. But feelings of shame attach to much else. We may feel ashamed at being incontinent, for instance, or being paunchy, or being an alum of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. Impotent men feel crestfallen. People may be ashamed of having been adopted, or divorced, or used up by a lover. People are ashamed of being duped or betrayed. People fret over being fat, skinny, mousy, gauche. In these respects, shame attaches not so much to</span> what we have done or failed to do, but to who we are.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Though people now use the w<span class="body-copy">ord &quot;shame&quot; promiscuously for almost any dip in self-esteem (I was ashamed of being runner-up), what is especially characteristic about real shame is the sense of being inappropriately exposed, of being painfully open to prying eyes. Ordinarily, the skin of privacy protects us. But when we have been exposed, we feel as if our bark has been stripped off and now we are vulnerable. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, the fallen Adam and Eve couldn&#39;t look at each other anymore. They especially had trouble looking into each other&#39;s eyes for fear of what they might find th</span>ere. <span class="body-copy-sm">(Dietrich Bonhoeffer,<em>Ethics</em>, Macmillan 1965, p. 20)</span></span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Mockery is an ancient <span class="body-copy">and wicked way of stripping. The mocker wants to expose absurdity, real or imagined, and thus to strip the victim of dignity. Mockery is a form of mortification. This is why torture often starts with stripping the victim. This is also why Matthew&#39;s gospel describes brutal mockery of Jesus and then says, matter-of-factly, that &quot;after mocking him . . . they led him away to crucify him&quot; (27:31). Where mockery </span>is concerned, crucifixion is just a way to finish it off.</span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">Shame vs. guilt</h3><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">The differen</span><span class="body-copy">ce between shame and guilt centers on culpability. Roughly put, guilt, whether an objective status or a feeling, always includes blameworthiness. Shame does not. At one time, most Western accounts of human fallenness centered on sin and guilt, making the gospel of justification of guilty sinners opaque in (often Eastern) cultures that center on shame and honor. This is no longer nearly as true. Since the 1970s a host of writers (Donald Capps, Robert Karen, Donald Nathanson, Lewis Smedes) have helped Christians see that as much as we need forgiveness on account of our guilt, we also need healing on account of ou</span><span style="font-size: 16px;">r shame.</span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">Mild vs. devastating</h3><p><span class="body-copy">Some shame is mild and some devastating. Feelings of shame range on a spectrum from mild embarrassment (you discover, too late, that the reason other partiers averted their gaze was that you had food on your face) through serious humiliation (in middle age you lose a job and can&#39;t find another) to a desperate and persistent sense of mortification that is the residue of terrible parenting or of vicious bullying or of assault&mdash;particularly of sexual assault, with its violent invasion of privacy.</span></p><h3 class="heading-sm">False shame vs. true shame</h3><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">Shame can be false as wel</span><span class="body-copy">l as true, because shamed people always measure themselves against a standard, and the standard might be silly or evil. If I am conceited, for instance, I stack myself up against the delusion that I am superior. I ought never to forget a name or mispronounce a word. I ought never to act like a nincompoop, not even accidentally. Nincompoopery is for losers. So are moderate praise, limited recognition, humble relatives, and middle income. These shame me because I am a superior being who dwells among peaks. If I belong to the Mafia, I might be ashamed for having mercy on the target of a hit. My</span><span style="font-size: 16px;"> standard is mercilessness, and I have just shamefully come short.</span></p>