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Sugared Shame vs. Sham Shame: How Good Guilt, Not Guilt-Tripping, Can Bring Healing to America

Teresa Neumann-Opinion : Mar 12, 2019

Shaming is everywhere these days. The problem is, much of it is secular-driven and, therefore, destructive. On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be enough "holy" shame around to bring healing to our nation. Find out the difference, and how to react to both types.

There's a whole lot of guilt-tripping going on in America right now. Entire people groups, political parties and religious organizations have found themselves targets of shaming campaigns. (Image: Pixabay)

Wear a MAGA hat in public and you could be beaten up. Teach in a Christian school that upholds traditional marriage and you might, like Mrs. Mike Pence, be publicly accused of being a bigot. Outraged that babies can be killed at birth simply because a mother doesn't want him/her to live? Prepare to be branded as "hateful" or "sexist" for denying a woman her "choice." And don't even think of openly rejecting transgender indoctrination in grade schools. Horrors!

These "Shame on You!" accusations disgrace, isolate, and exert power over those who pose obstacles to a desired agenda. They're not intended to bring about genuine repentance and change regarding perceived offences. Quite the contrary. The goal is to destroy opposition, damage reputations and ruin livelihoods. That's why people so often capitulate. It's not that they really change their minds on a position or genuinely adjust their moral compass. The social pressure is simply too great for them to bear.

And no wonder.

In the wrong hands, shame is a deadly weapon. I call it "sham shame" because it's coercive and cares nothing for the person it victimizes. Case in point: Lloyd Marcus, a self-proclaimed "black man who is proud to be an American" recently wrote in the American Thinker that "Years ago, a white friend told me her son came home from middle school in tears, overcome with guilt. He was taught that his white ancestors were responsible for horrible things done to native Americans, blacks, and women. Today, her son is a young adult communist. He hates America and believes white men are the greatest source of evil in the world. He actually said he will not have children because he does not want to bring more of his kind into the world."

In other words, the end-result of this secular "sham-shaming" was hate, self-loathing and a rejection of life.

Shame that's "holy," however—that is, coming from God—though still painful, can be a life-changing motivator. I see it as shame that's been "sugared." It comes from the Mary Poppin's movie: "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down..." A godly cure results in the discernment of truth, an end to self-hatred, and restored relationships. Sugared shame is conviction laced with hope that comes from a source of love. Its purpose is to heal and restore, not condemn or victimize.

As a Christian, I've been ashamed many times by my behavior. Outbursts of anger, unkind words I've said, unloving attitudes. It's my own conscience that's guilted me, not some public rebuke. It comes from loving God, knowing what hurts Him (and myself) and being able to hear His "still small voice" which gently, but firmly says, "Why did you do that? You know better. I'll help you change."

Of course, we all fear the "mortification of our flesh." It can be crushing, especially when the guilt and shame revolve around a serious failing that involves hurting others. To be buried under such a terrifying weight of wretchedness can be disabling ... or worse. There's no getting around it, but for the grace of God.

Today, if you find yourself drowning in shame and self-recrimination, ask yourself where it's coming from. A sense of panic, desperation and absence of redemptive hope will tell you that it isn't from God. If that's the case, stop right now.

Stop. It.

Throw yourself into the arms of your loving Creator and tell Him you're sorry for whatever offense has come between you and Him or another person. Ask for His wisdom to rectify the situation. Then trust Him. Completely. Remember: He promises you a "Peace that Passes All Understanding" and when you experience that sweet, sweet peace, you'll know you've tasted of that heavenly sugar that comes with true conviction.

On the other hand, if you realize you've hardened yourself to God and the world to the point that you're dead to conviction, Wake Up! His medicine is THE greatest transforming power in the universe, but it requires that you receive His diagnosis and fill His prescription. Let Him shine a light on those dark places in your heart that need to be exposed. Be brave, and you'll receive your breakthrough.

Under the headline "There is No Shame Left in America Anymore," reporter Maureen Callahan, wrote in the New York Post: "As a culture, we seem to have divested ourselves of shame—real shame, not the cheap and easy kind so easily doled out online, where anyone accused of "age-shaming" or "body-shaming" is expected to express, well, shame. Otherwise, there is never any reason to apologize, to admit full-on wrongdoing, let alone express deep, palpable shame over one's behavior."

She's absolutely right. (Image: Teresa Neumann-BCN)

If together—as family members, a church and a nation—we stop fearing God and start trusting Him, then we will take His restorative medicine and healing will come to us and our land. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here


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