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Shame - Is It a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Updated on December 31, 2019

Caught In The Act!

Apparently, the cat in the photo just stole a sausage.
Apparently, the cat in the photo just stole a sausage. | Source
  • Ashamed.
  • Embarrassed.
  • Disgraced.
  • Humiliated.

All of the above are word that describe the same feeling and can sometimes indicate the degree of the feeling that we have all experienced at least one time in our lives.

Or am I making a blanket statement?

It seems that in these times that we live in, shame is something you are not supposed to have and I see it plastered across placards in many protests. I also hear the statement, 'I have no shame,' quite frequently.

Is shame a bad thing or a good thing?

Anyone who has felt ashamed would definitively state that it is not an enjoyable feeling to have. Shame makes us feel uncomfortable, less than and sometimes convinces us that we are lower than low.

"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." Psalm 22:6 K.J.V.

Shame At School

It's a common thing for children to feel ashamed once they go to school. They may not have the right bookbag, the right brand named shoes, the right clothes and then they get teased. They dread this.

It is not unusual for me to hear of parents spending money they do not have so that their child can be dressed appropriately simply so that they can avoid being embarrassed by their lack.

These children are the 'lucky' ones They are able to survive school without hearing the snarky comments of others.

As a child, I never knew what was in or not and I never desired to have what everyone else had, but I was still aware of the pressure of 'keeping up with the Joneses' (Who were these people anyway?)

This shame, or fear of it, carries itself into adulthood and many a person has found himself or herself up to their ears in debt just so they could have the designer clothes, shoes or bag or the car etc.

Are you ashamed of your income bracket or job?

See results

Shame As An Adult

Then there is the shame that some adults have. The shame that makes them feel less than.

Maybe they have a job that is just mediocre and every one around them seems to be falling into success after success. Maybe they struggle to pay the rent (I know I do) and hear of those younger than they are casually buying a new car etc.

Perhaps as an adult, you have been single for what seems like forever and every body else is either married or in a relationship. When people ask you feel ashamed to say that there is no relationship, no not even a speck of one on the horizon of life!

To cover up these shames some people enter into relationships that are meaningless so that they do not feel left out. They take a job that pays better but work with awful people and are miserable for the majority of the day. They work themselves to the bone doing something they despise, or worse, are indifferent to and fall into deep depression.

In order to live up to the demands of society people are doing things without a point. Their lives are like someone who walks for miles and miles but he remains in place because he is on a treadmill.

The world tells you you are going places and the miles show up on the Fitbit but you look around and you are in the same place of discontent that you were before. All you did was try to protect yourself from this shame that you are afraid you will feel.

Are you ashamed of being single?

See results

The above issues are some of the issues where the presence of shame is not understood.

You can't afford brand names - so what? You are not in debt!

You don't have a big job and things are tough - so what? You work hard for an honest day's pay and what your work is invaluable! (Teachers, police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, I am talking to you!)

You are single - so what? You are not with someone just for the sake of saying so!

Yet, for these issues, cheeks burn all the same.

Then there are other issues.

Immorality is now sometimes referred to as free love. There is no shame in living and loving freely.

Immodesty is sometimes referred to as freedom of expression. There is no shame in showing your skin. You can wear that which you choose to wear. Being a prude is what is shameful.

Profanity and the use of it is glossed over and no longer a big deal.

Vanity is now called self love and there is an entire love yourself movement.

There is no shame in how you look, what you do to achieve that look, you are beautiful with all of your flaws, according to some of society today.

Others who believe differently are snobs, prejudiced, racist, body-shamers etc.

Judgemental fools who try to make others feel ashamed of that which they should not be ashamed at all.

Now I understand that which is trying to be done. There is a great effort to eradicate shame in order to make people feel better about themselves and be happier. Everyone is someone if they show themselves on social media, happier than ever, living their best lives and having no shame for any area of their lives.

However, it seems, in the effort to erase shame from every soul on the planet, there is an increased sense of secret shame. Shame that cannot be voiced because it is a shame to feel ashamed.

People suffer more in silence and the suicide rate is, according to federal data, the highest it has ever been since World War II. *

Shame and Pain - Good Things or Bad Things?

Here is where I bring in shame's partner-in-crime, pain. Shame can cause pain and pain can cause shame.

They often walk hand in hand.

They are despised equally, I would say. Yet, they do get a bad reputation when they do us a world of good.

Yes, I did say that shame and pain help us.

No one can deny that we live in an imperfect world, and using a Christian worldview, it is because of the presence of sin.Without sin, everything in this world, including us, would be perfect. But, sin exists and so we are not.

Most people shrug it off, but sin can and does hurt us. It can hurt us physically, mentally, and spiritually - in every way imaginable.

This is where shame and pain come in and do their jobs all the while facing picket signs and taunts.

Shame and pain are indicators. They let us know when it is time to stop. They warn us.

Pain tells our bodies to stop whatever it is we are doing or else we will be hurt badly. It lets us know that something is wrong with our bodies so that we can try to fix it. Without pain we would not know that we were ill or injured and knowing is what keeps us alive.

Shame also serves as a warning but to our souls, letting us know what is noble and what is not. Sometimes shame is implemented by people where there should be no shame but that is deliberately done to shut up someone who would speak right or speak against wrong. Real shame exists because the conscious exists.

Until we live in a world where sin does not exist, shame and pain have to be present. We need them for they are good for us and help to preserve life.

We have to be mindful, however of the shame that is presented by people who twist the truth to shame us into silence and recognize that it is a false type of shame. The shame that says one should be proud.

Real shame is synonymous with humility and not pride.

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. Proverbs 18:12

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life. Proverbs 22:4

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Proverbs 15:33

Humility is decidedly unpopular today. It is all about pride these days. Pride, one of the seven things the Lord hates, according to the Bible.

However, it is humility, and not pride, that keeps us content and causes us to treasure the gift that is life.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 North Wind


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