Tag Archives: shame

Shameless.

Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey: Father of Indian Gang Rape Victim Speaks Out.

There is something about these words, spoken by Jyoti’s father.  In a world where parents are often pressured, and rapes sometimes occur as the result of family disgrace, or where rape is seen just as sex and is therefore family disgrace… these words ring out. Honest.  True.  Bold.  Proud.  Shameless.

There is something about shame.  It usually occurs with some form of sin.  In the Garden of Eden, we read about sin coming into the world.  Just one simple command: don’t eat the fruit of this one tree.  No Levitical law.  No Ten Commandments.  Just one.  But temptation arose and sin entered our world.  And it has stayed with us ever since, waiting for Jesus to come back and establish His reign.  We have escape from sin in Jesus now, but not perfect peace from it.

But then what happened?  Adam and Eve became ashamed.  And that shame has stayed with us too.  And it’s good.  Sometimes.  It’s our conscience speaking up.  Sometimes.  And other times, it’s culture.  It’s false guilt.  It’s what we’ve been made to believe we should feel guilty for.  It’s not having enough money.  Or admitting to a wrong.  Not the wrong-doing causing the shame, but the sheer admittance.  We are Adam and Eve.  We hide.  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Sin is sin.  There is no arguing with that.  If you’re not sure you believe this, there’s some interesting food for thought HERE.  But perhaps sin was unavoidable… just maybe, if it hadn’t happened in the Garden, it would have just happened somewhere else.  Maybe while we battle sin daily, we need to battle shame with it.  Maybe the war on shame will be the key to the daily battle against sin.  Maybe.

Sin separates us from God.  But so does shame.  Shame made Adam and Eve hide.  Instead of approaching God based on His love, in boldness, saying “We messed up! Help!” Adam and Eve ran away.  And we do the same thing.  With God.  With each other.  

The dangerous part is that we do it when we’re not at fault– We have these bodies all backwards.  We don’t want to talk about rape.  We blame the victim.  We call it sex.

We don’t want a woman breastfeeding in public, however modestly.  We don’t even want to say the word “breast,” unless we’re talking about poultry.

We argue about the fine line between pornography and art.  

But we sexualize our TV, our music, our attitudes, our hearts.  And wonder why when we look at the world, we see sex.  I should mention here, I’m pretty pro-sex.  In the right contexts.  But sex in the wrong contexts has brought about a ton of shame.  And it’s taken our beautiful masterpiece bodies, designed by God, and hidden them.  From fig leaves to designer jeans.  

It’s late and I may be rambling.  I’m not suggesting we all just de-robe, walk around, and say it’s what God intended.  But what about teaching our sons, our daughters, and maybe even ourselves– that bodies are beautiful.  That they’re sacred.  That we need to live right, and that this is the key to no shame. That it’s ok to know your body, to educate yourself, to love what God made in you.  Each one of us is a sculpture by the Greatest Artist who exists.  He’s signed each of our hearts with a desire that we try to fill until we find Him and manage to give in to His love.  But some of us will find sex, alcohol, money, fame, science, pleasure, and a host of other things to try to fill that desire with first (which, are all OK things– but in proper priority).  And even those of us who find Him, will struggle with shame. We will call Jesus our Savior, but refuse to accept His love, because we are too ashamed.  Or we will accept the love, but never feel its full measure, too ashamed of our daily messes.  Shame.

Shame that makes us hide from God when He’s the only one who can make it better.  Shame that makes us hide from each other, and makes it easy for sin to target and pick us off.  

Almost a week in to 2013, I’m thinking it’s not too late for resolutions.  So I resolve to attempt to live more shamelessly in 2013.  To be willing to be uncomfortable, at times, in the proper situations, to attempt to free myself and others.  To attempt an honest conversation.  To connect, in a real, honest, intimate way– the way God intended us to interact with Him and each other.  

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Taking back Shame.

Shame is a dirty word.  I’ve decided to take it back.

We forget the issues.  We are so trained to judge ourselves and others.

We neglect that shame is not the wrong we did– it’s the realization and remorse that we did wrong.  It’s when we DON’T feel shame for these things that we should worry.

Too often, we let shame get in the way.  It clouds our thoughts.  It’s a fog over everything.  It’s a smoke.  It fills the room and we cough, and even when we can escape it, when we return, everything we once loved still smells of the burning. It makes our happiness bitter.  It changes our memories and scars them.

We let shame get in the way of our self worth.  We think less of ourselves.  And then this feeling unworthy affects our relationships.  Our parents, siblings, friends, lovers– they don’t understand why we think so little of ourselves.  They don’t understand why we can’t look them in the eye.  Why we can’t seem to feel loved.  We take our feelings and put them onto God– but not in that, “give it to God” kind of way.  Instead of handing them over, dropping them at His feet, we pile them up as high as we can– all our issues, our shame– and we let it form a wall between us.  We build it as high as necessary so we can’t look in His eyes.  We hope He can’t see ours, either.

We’re wrong, of course.  He sees.  He wants to.  Because the conscience He put in us as part of our compass– our inner guidance that points to Him and what’s right– that’s what makes us feel shame when we do wrong.  Sure, we learn to feel it for other reasons too.  Our compass is affected by many other things.  We feel false guilt all the time.  But the true kind, real shame when we did something bad or hurtful, was never supposed to separate.  When we feel ashamed it means our heart is soft enough to feel.  It means we still care about the person we’ve offended or let down.  And while it may not be ideal, that’s still a healthy, good, and pride-worthy thing.

I’ll venture to say this is where we screwed it all up.  Christians, I mean.  Or anyone else who considers themselves particularly “religious” or “moral.”  We think that taking a stand against sin means not talking about it or pretending it’s not there.  We think that any sign of shame is a leprosy– instead of recognizing the symptom as an arrow to the Cure.  It infects our churches.  It’s why no one wants to come.  It’s why the churches that are thriving and growing right now– are thriving and growing right now.  Because some of us are stepping up, and I hope more do.  Not just in word, but in action.  It needs to cut to the heart.  Church isn’t a bunch of rules and rule-upholders.  It’s not for the judgemental.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  It’s a support group.  It’s Sinners Anonymous.  It’s our weekly meeting.  It’s where we stand up proudly and say, “Hi, I’m [insert name here].  And I’m a sinner.”  And everyone says hello.  And we socialize and laugh and sing.  Because we’re in recovery.

Many thanks to Aaron who posted this [below] today, and a few weeks ago.  It hit me then, but today his comments prompted this post.  I hope we can think about it.  I hope it impacts our world– and permeates every second of how we live.

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