“The Blessing Of Shame”
April 27, 2016
Raking Rye across from our home.
Message Summary: In this message we consider how shame can actually be a blessing.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing'” (2 Samuel 24:10).
Have you ever done anything you are ashamed of? I sure have! Some I can recall and others I’ve forgotten, though I can well remember my parents admonishment with the pointed index finger, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”. Clearly, they were! Some memories of shame still sting to this day and I say to myself, “I can’t believe I did that.”
Today’s message will certainly be misunderstood by some, especially in light of our present age. After all, on the surface what possible blessing is there from shame? Shame is certainly not something we seek after and if we are shamed we want it to dissolve very quickly before others take notice.
But I believe there is a blessing in shame when it is properly understood. I am blessed to have parents who knew when to appropriately put me to shame, which was a loving act and responsible discipline necessary in good child-rearing. One memory involved using a swear word I had apparently learned elsewhere which shall not be disclosed here (although even slang words such as dang and darn were forbidden in our household). Why I would make the grave mistake of saying it in front of my mom I can’t explain but I can vividly remember getting my mouth washed out with liquid Ivory dish soap. Now she’d probably be reported for child abuse but it wasn’t of course and didn’t hurt me, but it sure tasted awful!
Today it seems like so many have little to no shame, even when their attitude or behavior is reprehensible. Of course that has been the case with some all along but it sure seems the number and percentage is growing. In great part I believe it’s due to the lack of having a firm mooring in the Biblical values of right and wrong.
The words “conscience-stricken” in the daily text describes shame. Today we may speak of those “who have no conscience” meaning someone who just doesn’t care about right and wrong. I read a sad news story recently that illustrated this. A man had been beaten and was left severely injured on the street. Passersby, rather than calling for help, picked through his belongings as he lay dying.
If we were to ask people who have even a nominal familiarity with the Bible to identify David’s most famous sin many would recall his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and his feeble attempt to cover-up.
Second Samuel 24 chronicles David’s less familiar recorded sin of taking a census. At one point I thought to myself, “David came to his senses about the census”, unaware of my play on words.
It is difficult for us to understand the severity of this sin. But David himself seemed to consider it greater than his adultery, murder, and cover-up recorded in 2 Samuel 11 (compare 12:13 with 24:10). It certainly had a greater impact in terms of loss of life. We may on the surface be puzzled about the passage compared to our understanding of his sin with Bathsheba, which is easier for us to grasp. That was a sin of the flesh; here we have a sin of the spirit involving pride, self-sufficiency and presumption.
Today let us consider two senses in which shame is a blessing:
- Shame is a blessing in a convictive sense. What a blessing to sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we sin which leads us to repentance and restoration with God and others. If we feel no shame we will just stay in the unrepentant condition we are in and likely see sin increase in our life.
- Shame is a blessing in a preventive sense. When tempted we are able to foresee shame and that may just give us strength to resist. A teaching from many years ago comes to mind by Randy Alcorn on this matter which I will post below titled, “The Consequences of A Moral Failure”.
A great mark of a godly man is repentance, and even as David had greatly sinned, he greatly repented. His response was one, though slow in coming, of humility and responsibility. He didn’t obfuscate the offense, he didn’t pass the buck, he didn’t blame others, he didn’t cry out “I’m a victim”. What a contrast to the modern response to sin, seen from the top national level on down. Let us follow David’s model in his heart of repentance!
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, true repentance brings about a change of heart which includes humility, sorrow for one’s sins, contrition, and retribution if possible. We’re grateful for a healthy conscience that is pained when we partake of that which is hurtful to others and dishonors You. Thank You for Your loving patience and kindness that leads us to repentance, O Lord, knowing that no matter how far we veer off course You warmly receive us when we acknowledge our wrongdoing, take responsibility for our actions, turn from the evil and turn to the right. Amen.
Also consider the blessing of remembering shame after restoration which has a way of fortifying us not to repeat. Many years ago, but still as an adult and while in Christian ministry, I recall acting in a vengeful way concerning a matter where I had been hurt as well as others. However my hurt did not justify my action.
“Prodigal Son” Video Keith Green
“Create In Me A Clean Heart” Video Keith Green
“Grace By Which I Stand” Video Keith Green
“The Disposition of Man and Conviction of Sin” by Oswald Chambers Video
“The Consequences of A Moral Failure” a teaching personalized and adapted from Randy Alcorn
Yesterday a chaplain visit took us through Hershey PA and we noticed the beautiful trees are in bloom overlooking the famous Hershey Cocoa shrubbery. (Click on photo for larger view)
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