Yesterday, I saw a video of a man heaping shame on a public servant. My heart was deeply angered and at the same time saddened. His anger did not allow him to properly convey his message. In direct correlation, his anger also deprived this public servant the opportunity to receive or acknowledge his grievance.
“Shame on you!”
If you are like me, you may have been the subject of such a statement a few times. In my adolescence, the intent was to help me recognize my inappropriate behavior and change my ways. The heart behind the intent was a tenderness that allowed me to experience being ashamed so that I would learn the difference between right and wrong.
However, being ashamed is much different that being shamed.
Being ashamed is brought about by personal conviction. It compels us to seek clarity and forgiveness.
Being shamed is the evocation of throwing stones. It is void of hopeful redemption and leads to sorrow and disgrace.
For humanity, Christ never came to put shame upon us. His desire was that we would experience His heart for us and become ashamed of our behavior and seek His unfailing love. For example, when the adulteress was caught and the people wanted to cast stones (impart shame), Christ offered kindness (hopeful redemption from sorrow).
I believe goodness and kindness are a byproduct of repentance and restoration (a good tree bears good fruit). In turn, where there is behavior that is shameful and vengeful you will find an individual in need of the kindness and goodness that Christ offers.
“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. … For the word of God is living and active. … It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. … For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:8-13
Martin Luther King displayed the template for effective Godly protest that lets the message ring clear. Rev. King was respectful of order and chose humility and kindness over arrogance and anger.
Consider this, if we find ourselves unable to be kind, then it might be an indicator that we are operating in weakness and are being tempted to behave contrary to that which pleases God. Our best response is to stop and approach God to receive His mercy and grace to enable us to deliver the thoughts and passions of our heart in a manner that promotes goodness.
Kindness is the tone that enables a message to be received and acknowledged. When angry (and it’s okay to be angry), it must be channeled into respectful kindness so the message is not just heard but also received.
Remember, the squeaky wheel may get the oil, but if the squeaky wheel refuses to no longer operate, it may be replaced.
The point is a message is best received when conveyed with respect and kindness. It allows wrongs to be righted and wounds to be mended. Heaping shame never produces God’s rightness. When anger is involved, it’s usually a mirror that something is not right in our own life. It is usually hard for us to see this truth. Imagine how hard it is then for the recipient of our anger to receive the message we are trying to convey. All the more reason to be kind in all matters allowing God to be the heart advocate.
Like your momma always taught you, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Psalms 145:8