The Power of Shame

Shame concerns the Christian believer as much as anyone else. It is an emotional experience that everyone avoids. Yet the apostle Peter invites us saying: “But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!”, (1 Peter 4:16, NLT). Some people, because their views differ from the popular, they feel they may be wrong and they develop doubt. But the popularity of an opinion or view is not proof that the opinion is the truth.

Now why would the apostle Peter use the word “shame” above with respect to our suffering for being a Christian? Let us remember our Lord Jesus Christ was not simply put to death based on fabricated lies and false accusations. He was crucified on a cross. This was meant to put him to shame.

The Bible says,”In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him,” (Mark 15:31-33, NIV).

Jesus submitted to such treatment on our behalf so that we can have this opportunity to re-fellowship with the Father and have kingdom living available to all who believe. His humiliating death, Scripture says was ransom for our sins. So through him we can escape the shame, the humiliation, the disgrace, the dishonour and the guilt of our sinful nature. All we need to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and instead of shame we receive salvation and eternal life.

Merriam-Webster’s 11th Edition Dictionary defines shame as, “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” It continued saying that shame is “something to be regretted.” The obvious power of shame is that it motivates individuals to do the right thing which will not make them become a victim of shame. In some cultures the individual brought to shame is excommunicated, shunned, avoided, and some such persons even commit suicide upon experiencing shame.

What then of the condemnation we sometimes suffer as believers in this life, you might ask? James says, to count it as joy (James 1:2). In fact, the Bible says, “Be joyful that you are taking part in Christ’s sufferings. Then you will be filled with joy when Christ returns in glory,” (I Peter 4:13). Do not consider yourself unlucky when you suffer for Christ’s sake.

Are you ashamed to tell others in this secular and materialistic world that you are a Christian? Are you afraid or shy to say that you hold dear to Biblical values? When your friends encourage you to behave like the world do, to party as they do, to drink as they do, to have fun the way most people do that grieves the Holy Spirit, are you ashamed to say you disagree and refuse to take part? Remember what the apostle Peter says, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you,” (1 Peter 4:14, NIV).

So can we not use shame to honour and glorify God? Does it not motivate us to do that which is good and godly for we wish to avoid the experience of this negative emotion? What do you think? Don't be ashamed now to openly express you views that declare you are a lover of Jesus Christ.