I’m here to talk about a very uncomfortable subject: shame.
No, I don’t mean the shame you feel when you eat one too many cookies, or the embarrassment you experience when you’re at someone’s house and you make their toilet flood. (Yes, I’ve done both of those things, unfortunately.)
I’m talking about the shame you feel when you sin. The shame you feel with God. The shame you feel with yourself.
I’ve felt it before. It’s actually one of the worst feelings, knowing that you know what is good and what is evil, and actually, consciously choosing that apparent good, even though in the end it was nothing but the opposite, and you only realize after-the-fact the remorse caused by your temptation willed by action.
I just described shame, but what is it?
Shame: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.
Shame is painful. But often, pain moves us, and pain has the possibility to move our hearts to be more loving, more feeling, and more receptive to good.
Shame is caused by a consciousness of guilt. We are aware of something. Specifically, we acknowledge that we did not live up to basic Christian morality.
Shame is guilt felt through a realization that we failed in achieving moral excellence, as the words shortcoming and impropriety allude to some higher end or standard not having been met.
Shame isn’t just feeling bad about yourself. Shame inherently shows our redeemable nature as human beings, since we are uncomfortable with our sin and we perceive that we were made to act in a manner more suitable to our nature: goodness.
And don’t think for a second you are too shameful to be loved. Jesus loved both the men on either side of Him that He was being crucified with. Even though only one of them repented, He loved them both. So let’s not let shame lead us to wallow in self pity. Let’s use shame to move our hearts to repent. God is so willing to forgive. All we must do is ask.
“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.” James 1:2-5