1 Corinthians 6:5 “I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?”
Romans 9:33 “As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.’”
2 Thessalonians 3:14 “Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed.”
Well-placed shame seems an oxymoron, but it can actually be very healthy and redemptive. If you do something you know to be wrong, then you feel guilty. It is the voice of conscience. If you are a Christian, it is the Holy Spirit crying out. Today’s society ignores the powerful impact of shame, which is the byproduct of a sense of right and wrong. The world doesn't place a lot of value on moral rights and wrongs, so it is little wonder that shame has lost its significance.
If you look up “shame” in the Bible, you will find it 100 times in most versions. You will also discover that the authors of Scripture reiterate the case that the one who trusts God will “never be put to shame.” Peter and Paul in the New Testament developed a theme that believers will stand before Jesus without shame because our sins are forgiven. At the same time, the writers in the Bible rebuke wrongdoers. Jeremiah, in chapter 3:2-3 asked the question, “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?” So shame isn’t bad if it shifts our hearts toward God. Shame isn’t bad if it focuses our conduct on becoming more like Him.
Shame can keep us in check. Today we can utilize shame to direct us toward God. Does what we are feeling or thinking lead us closer to Jesus? Make us need Him more?
Today, acknowledge the difference between well-placed shame that drives us closer to God and shame that makes us want to hide from His presence. Is there anything you need to confess? Turn to God and embrace His forgiveness.
Jesus, help me to be open to You. When I mess up, help me to move toward You. Help me to lean into You. Keep my heart soft. Amen.