I read once in a book that the Japanese make shame a tradition, part of who they are.

Now, when you read that, you probably think that they should change their ways, because shame is never a good thing, right?

Well, there are two kinds of shame.

The first kind of shame, the one that you probably think of when I mention it, is the crippling kind of shame, regret for something you’ve done, the feeling of dirtiness, of worthlessness. This shame is obviously not good, and this is the kind you want to avoid putting on yourself. Most of the time, this shame comes from doing a bad thing that you shouldn’t have chosen to do in the first place. What you have to realize is,if you’re a Christian, you can go to God and repent, and you’re forgiven. You need not be ashamed any longer.

The second kind of shame is actually beneficial: the feeling of embarrassment you get when you do something you shouldn’t, or cross boundaries you shouldn’t. The way you feel when you sweep the dust under the rug, or break something and hide it instead of confessing. Some might call it your conscience.

If a Japanese child asks someone a personal question (or simply too many questions), their parent will ask them something like, “Have you no shame?”

There are four children between the ages of 6 and 11 who live two houses down from mine. They play in our yard, even when none of us are outside with them, and they play with whatever toys they find on our property, without asking. I caught them once at the front door, knocking and knocking, then one of the boys lifted up one of the girls so she could attempt to peer through the peephole.

Can you guess what question I want to ask them? That’s right: Have you no shame?!

Let me finish by stating that you do not need to feel shame for anyone else’s actions. If your friend does something you’ve been trying to keep them from doing, you have no guilt in the matter, and therefore you should not feel ashamed. You are not responsible for their actions, as my friend Kaitlyn says.

Also, because I know a couple of you have gone through the same thing I did recently, I just want to put this out there: If being friends with someone is too much for you, and you absolutely cannot handle it, or it’s unhealthy for you, it’s okay to tell them so, and back away from the friendship. You do not need to feel any shame, even if that person tries to shame you for it. (Especially if that person is most likely clinically insane. Again, this is for the people who went through the same thing I did recently… if you don’t understand it, you’re not one of them.)

Have shame, but do not be ruled by shame.

4 In you our fathers trusted;

   they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 To you they cried and were rescued;

   in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

-Psalm 22:4-5

Categories: Devotionals and Lessons | Leave a comment

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