Shame. What causes you to want to run to the bathroom and hide your face or run to your bedroom and put your head under your pillow? What comment have you made or action have you done that causes you shame and you wish you could undo the words or actions and take away the pain or impact it has had on those around you?
Shame. We have seen the cascade effect of sin in the life of the woman in the garden. We cannot tip toe around what this woman did. We call it a poor choice or we look at our choices and say, “Yes, I made a poor choice or a bad decision.” Do we actually call our wrong choices for what they are: SIN? It seems we tip toe around what sin really is and soft pedal it and call it a poor choice or a wrong choice. In the process of changing the labeling of sin, we soften the feelings of guilt which then softens our internal resolve to not make the same poor choice again. If we do not feel as much guilt then we will not feel as much shame. With a decrease in the feeling of shame, we have gained a liberation to make an increasing amount of poor/wrong choices because our psychological well-being is based on our freedom of choice.
Shame. It seems shame has taken a back seat to psychological happiness. Rather than calling sin for what it is and accepting the consequences of sin, we soften the feeling of shame in order to preserve a person’s sense of well-being. In Genesis 3:7 “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” The woman and the man felt shame for the sin that they had committed so they covered their shame with fig leaves. Only minutes before there was no shame in their nakedness, nor was there shame in their hearts because they had a guilt-free conscience. Now they sinned against the Holy God, the Creator of the universe and they felt shame. We cannot soft pedal this into a poor choice, rather we must call this for what it was and the man and the woman must face the consequences that will be meted out by the Creator of the universe.
Shame. In our world today, we do not want to damage the psychological make-up of those around us or our children, so we give them the freedom of choice and try to soften the blow of sin and its consequences by calling it a poor choice and then softening the consequences.
Shame. In the early 1700’s George Whitefield came to America from Ireland and began to preach across the colonies. As he began to preach the “Great Awakening” among the early Americans began to take place. During this time of spiritual revival among the colonists many would stop their work for the day and go out into the field where Mr. Whitefield was preaching and listen to his sermons. In his sermons that attracted thousands, he called these people sinners and the wrong they were committing sin, yet many admired and respected Mr. Whitefield and came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through his ministry. According to Benjamin Franklin “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants.” This change in peoples’ lives did not come about in the early history of America because Mr. Whitefield called sin a poor choice, rather he called it sin and revealed to these sinners the consequences for their sin and their need for a Savior.
Shame. Guilt. Consequences. These serve as a reminder that the actions or words that were committed or said were wrong and need to be dealt with. Don’t soft pedal sin as a poor choice, but rather face the music and deal with the consequences head on, admit your guilt to all it affects, and with help from a loving God seek to change your behavior. There may be permanent consequences, but choose to never commit the same sin again. God did not give the man and the woman an opportunity to commit the same sin again. He banished them from the garden and they bore the consequences the rest of their lives; however, we must choose not to wallow in our shame but in the enveloping forgiveness of God.