Everyone is quick to point out how much they hate being shamed but it rarely provides an automatic insight to help us not act as shamers. Shame is sneaky and shows up sporting a bunch of different looks. It can be kind of punky, aggressive and direct – attacks on others’ looks, character, ethnicity, etc. It can hide out in silence – when we fail to speak up against wrongdoing. It can really go stealth and try to mask itself as righteousness. It can go underground and manifest as a critical voice in our heads. It can develop strength and stamina for running and keep us from living our one wild and wonderful life. Shame has mad skills of disguise.
When the group met to discuss the problem with their recovery ministry shame was in play big time. The Senior Pastor looked serious and stern, but he was playing a game on his ipad. The Care Minister was extremely emotional, crying and sobbing when discussion arose about staff termination. The Missions Minister muttered that there was too much estrogen on display for the team to get much accomplished. And the content of the discussion? Wowser. Brutal. All of it. Every stitch of it was completely unproductive. Eventually people wore out or grew so frustrated that an uneasy silence emerged. Soon folks were stirring as if waking from a nap. Catching sight of me and our team the Senior Pastor suggested without much enthusiasm, “I guess maybe you should offer a couple suggestions for us to consider.”
“Glad to.” I said. And I asked them to turn in their bibles to this:
Everyone has heard that there is sexual immorality among you. This is a type of immorality that isn’t even heard of among the Gentiles – a man is having sex with his father’s wife! And you’re proud of yourselves instead of being so upset that the one who did this thing is expelled from your community.
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
Next time I will continue the discussion on shame, but today do me a favor. Read these verses as if you’ve never seen them before and see what you notice.