“A broken ankle gives one a lot of time for reflection,” reflected Ian.
Anyway, Ian’s reflections are being published. Yikes!
Shame. Shame is an interesting thing. I am by no means an expert, but I have opinions, and I am going to boldly share them.
From my experience/observance, shame is a result of sin. Sin is a result of us turning from God, and turning from God is a result of needing love. (Isn’t it ironic that God is Love? And yet we turn from him when in need of love. People aren’t very smart. Even our Ph. D.’s are typically atheistic. Harvard grads, etcetera. Some one with an IQ that high turns from what they’re searching for? Yep.)
Shame is the worst part of sin. It causes depression, self-righteousness, suicidal behaviors, all that stuff that is generally credited to amoral video games, movies, our whole amoral culture for Pete’s sake!
But it seems that it’s deeper. It starts with the conscience. I believe we’ve had one since the “Incident in Eden”. We took what wasn’t ours, and immediately knew it was wrong. When that happened each person has a little Giminy Cricket type spark in their mind. It alerts us when something is wrong, and tells us when we did a good job. It is what makes sinning a conscious thing. We decide to sin, rather than just do it accidentally.
As it is Easter, and I am currently munching on an chocolate Easter egg, I’ll use the chocolate egg analogy.
Let’s say (all great Analogists agree, those words are the key to a good analogy.), that you happen upon a chocolate egg. Not seeing any identification, and realizing this egg isn’t of great monetary significance, (or any other significance, for that matter,) you unwrap it and start eating.
Then you find that it was your friend’s egg. Thus you “stole” it from him. Unwittingly, and unmaliciously. I believe that because you didn’t know that it was wrong, it wasn’t wrong.
I completely understand that this conclusion from that is a dangerous rope to dangle from. But, if the Egg-eater ate the egg, and then was told it wasn’t his, he wouldn’t be guilty of stealing, would he? He would most likely have to replace the object in question, but the effects of shame wouldn’t be the same.
Thusly, I think that shame is a qualifier for sin.
Let’s say, that the man had the intentions of stealing a chocolate egg. He went to his friends house, where his friend was fondly cradling his chocolate egg. He rips it out of his friends hand, and his friend trips and falls trying to grab the egg. He maniacally cackles as he munches the marvelous morsel, in his malicious manor.
Then, later, the shame kicks in. Did I hurt him bad. I didn’t ask if he was okay when he tripped. I shouldn’t have done that! God hates me. My friend hates me. Everyone in the whole stinking universe hates me, and I am never going to be worthy of God’s love!!!!
That last line conveniently sets up this next part.
God’s love is what fixes it all! So when we do something like stealing, the shame tells us, “You aren’t worth your weight in saltine crackers! You are a lousy failure! You couldn’t do a good deed if a good deed did you!” (If you said, “What the heck is that supposed to mean!?” so did the author.)
When that happens, I think the deed causing it (shame) should be classified a sin. Sin is what drives us from God, and when the shame tells us we’re not wanted, that ain’t exactly an invitation to God’s throne.
So then you get to the part where shame is basically controlled by your mind! (Or at least I do. And since I’m the author, so do you! Isn’t this fun 🙂 ) What I mean is, if I don’t think it’s wrong to kill someone, it isn’t a sin. I think that when you’re at that point, the rules of shame don’t apply.
When you can kill, you have buried conscience. Or you have a dead conscience. Thus, the rules of shame have no where to be applied, because there’s no shame to apply them to.
Let’s go back to the list of what happens:
Shame is a result of sin. Sin is a result of us turning from God, and turning from God is a result of needing love. Now, let’s go the other way. Shame results in inferiority complexes, and that results in more sin, because you still don’t have the love you needed, and it keeps going.
With an exception. If you can get past the shame, and admit to God you were wrong, then, it’s all good. God will forgive anything.
My dad has said that, “Almost nothing we do is bad.” He means that the only bad thing is the shame that is caused by us knowing something is bad, and then still doing it.
Shame kills relationships all the time. It’s what creates lies, and it’s what creates hate. Shame is overall not a very good thing.
Shame on Shame.