Being Grace in a Shaming Culture

Being Grace in a Shaming Culture

Being Grace in a Shaming Culture

Shaming has no healing or restorative purpose.  Shaming invokes humiliation and embarrassment.  It deceives the “shamer” into believing they are better than those being shamed. It comes cloaked in “needed criticism” or religiosity.  Whether it was the leper ousted to the outside of the city, the woman branded with the scarlet A, a young intern caught up with a married politician, an athlete caught in a sexual addiction, or a mom whose child fell in a gorilla pit.

The main difference today is in how we shame.

We have traded pitchforks for the anonymity of the keyboard.   We live in a world that is infiltrated with the mistakes of others blasted across the Internet in lightening speed. One day everyone shames a politician, the next day a dentist who shot a lion, the next is a college student who drank too much…and the list can go on. We “#” our shame comment, before we know it, there are 23,000 other “#” comments creating a mob frenzy against whoever is the target du jour.

Why is it we feel a need to interject ourselves into their world? Along with the natural consequences of poor choices, we want, we desire, we crave for people to feel bad about their behaviors and bad about themselves.

Poor choices say, “I did something bad”, shame says, “I am bad”.

Grace is the opposite of shame

But grace says, I love you at your worst. I love grace!

If God has the grace to not define us by our worst day, why do we not extend that same grace? Why do we feel a need to use the backs of those broken to uplift ourselves?  Why can’t we be God’s hands extended on earth? Wrapping them around the shoulders of the broken and loving them back to His arms.

Here are a few thoughts on what can we do different in a shaming culture:

We can be a true friend. When I read or hear about someone caught up in media firestorm, I often wonder, “Who in their life can tell them no? Who can offer graceful rebuke?” What a challenge to be a better friend!

A reminder to be the “iron that sharpens iron” friendship – Prov. 27:17.

We can find ways to empathize. You don’t need to engage the argument, but look for the root of the situation. In the case of the attacks on the mom and the gorilla situation, we can say, “What parent hasn’t had a child slip out from under them, fall off a chair, run away from us”? It is important to humanize a situation, to remember we all fall short in life.

We can give ourselves time to reflect. When we don’t feel gracious with our words (oh you know!) and we know our thoughts are not good. We need to wait, just wait; sometimes it is an hour or a few days. We need this time to seek wisdom so our words don’t cause more damage.

Prov. 16:24 Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Thankfully, God doesn’t define our life by our worst day.

So no one else has that power to do that to you! This doesn’t mean we don’t have consequences or take responsibility for our behaviors. But it does mean, that once we recognize our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, we can live life defined by the One Who Truly Loves Us!

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Written by

Karen Blandino is a pastor's wife, Texan, mother and counselor. She holds a Master's Degree in Counseling from TCU and a Bachelor of Arts in History from UTA. She has served 12 years in education. She and her husband planted 7 City Church in Ft. Worth, Texas where they serve as lead pastors.

2 Comments
  • Lisa says:

    Thanks for this post Karen. I have suffered from toxic shame most of my life. I am only becoming liberated from it in recent years. Such a great reminder that the universe (God) is benevolent and that we are all worthy of love and healing and good things.

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Hello and welcome! I am a Texas girl and pastor's wife who loves Jesus, my family and life. I have a huge passion to share my personal life experiences (the good & the not so good), my love for pretty things and to connect with other women. I hope you feel community here and join with me as we journey through life. signature

 

 
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