Tuesday, March 12, 2019


I've been missing Kevin DeYoung since his move and new responsibilities. But here he is: "We Are Supposed to Feel Bad About Stuff":
Our world is seriously confused about shame.

Strike that, the church is seriously confused about shame. We’ve made Jesus into a Rogerian therapist, the Bible into a book of self-actualizing pablum, and the gospel into a perpetual reminder that, hey, you’re awesome! The only shame left is saying or doing anything that leaves one feeling ashamed.

Shame is not a small matter in the Bible. The English word “shame” occurs 174 times in 161 verses in the ESV (and “ashamed” another 63 times in 58 verses). Clearly, the Bible has a lot to say on the topic.

Shame can be a hard subject to talk about because a massive problem for many people is misplaced shamed. Whether in every day “failures” like a messy house and unwanted pounds, or in more catastrophic situations like the experience of sexual abuse or racial bigotry, almost all of us have elements of our person or our past that wrongly make us feel embarrassed, dirty, and ashamed. The Bible is well aware of this tendency. When Zophar inquired of Job, “Shall no one shame you?” he was castigating Job for sins Job hadn’t actually committed. Zophar thought Job should be ashamed, but Job knew he had nothing be ashamed of.

In the New Testament we see the apostles often addressing the misplaced shame Christians were liable to feel because of their faith in a crucified Savior. This is why Paul says “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Rom 1:16) and why he insists that no one who believes in Jesus will be put to shame (Rom. 10:11). Peter emphasizes the same thing (1 Pet. 2:6), reminding the believers that there is no shame in suffering as a Christian (1 Pet 4:16), and that ultimately it is the enemies of Christ who will be put to shame for having opposed God’s people (1 Pet 3:16). Most importantly, we follow Jesus, who was treated with utter shame (Mark 12:4; Luke 18:32; 20:11), and yet, in despising the shame, gave us the subjective example and the objective means by which we can cast aside the shame that does not rightly belong to us.

Because misplaced shame is such a pervasive human problem, and because the Bible is genuinely concerned to see us address our (often) undeserved sense of humiliation, too many Christians think the way to make hurting people feel better is to simply eliminate the category of shame altogether. Surely, it’s not coincidence that two recent, popular (and misguided) books—incidentally, by women and for women—are entitled Shameless: A Sexual Revolution and Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals. Church got you down? Voices in your head making you unhappy? Just follow your dreams, be true to yourself, take a chance, and do what makes you happy. Shame is just another word for the impossible expectations that the church, the flesh, and the Devil put upon you.

But just because you found a hammer does not mean the whole world is actually a nail. .... (more)

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