Written by cycleguy on July 17th, 2017

Not reason as in intellectual “reasoning.”

But reason as in “why I do what I do” or “did what I did.”

This past Sunday I spoke about shame and its effect upon our lives and upon our thinking. I opened with the following illustration:

John Wilkes Booth believed in slavery, but he did not lift a finger to save it. The South had lost the war it fought to save slavery, and he had been too much of a coward to do anything for the cause. His cowardice shamed him. “I despise myself,” he said and went out looking for a chance to escape his shame. The chance came when a British play called My American Cousin opened at Ford’s Theater, and it was rumored that the president would attend. Abraham Lincoln was a sacrifice to shame.

So professionals have been asking the question-then and now-are people ashamed because they do bad things, or do people do bad things because they are ashamed? Most students of shame point to monsters like Hitler, Saddam Hussein and others like them as examples. Most every monster was a disowned child-abuse or abandoned-or in some other cruel way made to feel unworthy and unwanted.

That is not justification for their inhumane acts, but it does give us some insight into them, and others like them.

And us. You and me. Seemingly normal (so we say) 🙂 people.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture which tends to think “I’m entitled to  (name it).” The whole entitlement mentality needs to stop-at home; at church; at sports; and play. Let it begin with me.


14 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jeff says:

    We are all entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our ancestors have fought and died for that. And no one should be allowed for reasons of politic, economics or religion to interfere with my, or anyone else’s entitlement. Although many do try.

    • cycleguy says:

      If I remember correctly it is defined as an “inalienable right.” I agree the people fought and died for it. But the entitlement I’m speaking about is the culture of entitlement we have (I don’t work but I’m entitled to…).

      • Jeff says:

        I think that was what Thomas Paine called it. I am not sure about the “Culture” of entitlement. I am sure there are people that try to get more while giving less. That bothers me far less than someone trying to mess with someone’s inalienable rights for politic, economic,or religious reasons.
        I hope you are not suggesting that the cross somehow takes away the need for shame. That would be almost immoral if true.

  2. Linda Stoll says:

    Conviction for specific sin and shame that shrouds us like a wet blanket are two different animals.

    The conviction of sin is from the Spirit … endless shame is a taunt from the enemy of our souls.

    Oh to be able to discern so we can respond in ways that are wise …

  3. I’ll let Abe explain my heart on this…“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Amen brother…amen!

  4. Ryan S. says:

    Interesting take on shame and response. I honestly have not given that much thought, but does make sense. Shame can be destructive for sure and I could see how it could drive you down a very dark road.

  5. A perpetual sense of shame can certainly lead one down a very destructive road, either to oneself or others or both. So grateful that Jesus took away my shame and my sin when He died for me!
    Blessings, Bill!

  6. Betty Draper says:

    I love it that Jesus died for my shame too. What love it this. It’s one thing to die for another life but their sin and the shame of their sin. What love!!!

  7. floyd says:

    I’m with you, Bill. This culture of “lovers of themselves” is sure proof of the lack of wisdom in it.

    Ever notice the great ones put themselves last?