Shame Not: Twenty Questions

Shame Not: Twenty Questions

Shame Not: Twenty Questions.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, all you who are struggling and find life burdensome; I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28).

Sing Over Me (featuring Taylor Leonhardt and Molly Parden) – YouTube

The word “shame” in Scripture comes from a Greek root word “aischos,” which means “disfigurement.” The feeling of shame is rooted in the idea of one’s spirit being disfigured, the face of one’s inner being marred in a painful way. Shame defaces the appearance of one’s identity, and can be brought about by injuries such as rejection, inadequacy, abandonment or exposure. The wounds of shame can go deep and cause emotional trauma, for sure, but there is hope through God’s Word and His power, and through the active involvement of a wise and loving community. Interestingly, being vulnerable in a supportive group of people goes far in healing one’s feeling of vulnerability. Admitting weakness makes us strong as we learn to scorn the shame like Jesus did. (Hebrew 12:2). Inner disfigurement can be healed and lead to a beautiful spirit.

It is remarkably easy to inflict shame on another person. We can do it simply with a look on our face or a tone of our voice. We can bring shame to someone without knowing it if we’re not careful, while earnest and well-meaning. We all need to work on limiting our occasions of shame-giving. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to help a person descend into shame and become one of the walking wounded. Sometimes we inflict shame in the heat of a moment or in an emergency. Other times, shame wounds someone gradually over time. Here are questions we should be asking ourselves when interacting with others. We don’t have to walk on eggshells whenever we’re with another person, but these questions bring up changes in our interactions that are doable.

(1.) Do you ever mock, taunt or criticize others “in jest,” when you say “just kidding”?

(2.) Do you show disapproval through non-verbal communication like gestures, tone, expressions?

(3.) Do you like to make people feel guilty?

(4.) Do you verbally expose others while they are in a state of weakness or vulnerability?

(5.) Do you only show approval when something is done perfectly?

(6.) Do you spark fears of abandonment by having someone feel unworthy of your time and attention?

(7.) Do you permit yourself to ridicule others to their face or to someone else?

(8.) Do you like to embarrass others when they make mistakes or suffer a defeat?

(9.)  Do you enjoy fooling others or making them look foolish?

(10.) Do you only praise or affirm others for the outcome of their effort and not the hard work involved?

(11.) Do you like to exert your power when someone is in a powerless position?

(12.) Do you find it difficult to initiate affirmation or praise of others?

(13.) Are you only too happy to let others know when they don’t meet your expectations?

(14.) Do you love others enough to forgive and forget their wrongdoings?

(15.) Do others have to prove their worth and importance before you accept/respect them as human beings?

(16.) Do you tend to criticize others in a spirit of judgment and rejection?

(17.) Are you too busy to try to understand a loved one or a colleague?

(18.) Do you ever take advantage of someone who is defenseless or vulnerable?

(19.) Do you find it easy to forget that someone else is to be treated as an image-bearer of God?

(20.) Do people tend to feel honored and respected in your presence?

If your answers to these questions suggest you have developed a lifestyle of inflicting shame, or even if you blithely wander through your interactions unthinkingly shaming others… there is hope for change. Read God’s Word, ask God for help through the Holy Spirit, and find a community that will help you learn to know the source of the shame and then help you scorn it and disregard it. There’s a good chance you might need to identify the shame in your own life if you want to become a shame-healer instead of a shame-giver.

Of course, if you are one of those sick predators who prey on those weaker than you, Jesus is waiting to fit you with your very own millstone necklace. (Matt. 18:6).