Reflection on Christian Living: Meditation on Shame

In my tradition, we say a corporate prayer of confession of sins every Sunday.  I often wonder how much people grasp of what they are confessing.  One of the classic expressions is, “we are ashamed and sorry for what we have done and for what we have left undone.”  But it seems to me we are becoming and have become a shameless society.  When was the last time you heard anyone sincerely apologize for anything?

There is one current expression I seriously dislike.  “My bad.”  Okay, I despise this expression.

1.         It in no way admits wrongdoing.

2.         It is in no way an apology.

Instead, it is a flippant way of saying, “You may think what I did was wrong.  I don’t necessarily agree, but to avoid your wagging finger and opinionated tongue I’ll just say, “My bad” and we can get on with life.”

The truth is there are a lot of stupid people in this world.  There are people who actually believe if you admit wrongdoing of any kind then somehow that makes you a bad person, and since no one wants to say of themselves that they are a bad person, they will never admit doing anything wrong.

Here is a clue: Even the best people sometimes make mistakes and do wrong.  The difference is the best people say, “I was wrong.  I’m sorry.”  Only idiots try to shrug it off with “My bad.”

There really are a lot of stupid people in this world.  Some actually believe if you say, “I’m sorry” somehow that shows weakness. 

Here is another clue:  Anyone can say “My bad” because it admits nothing and apologizes for nothing.  It takes real courage and inner strength to say the words, “I’m sorry” and mean them. 

What is missing in this world is a sense of shame when we make mistakes or do the wrong thing.  It is especially missing when we are living sin-filled lives. 

People used to hide their alcohol, pornography, gambling and drugs, ashamed of their dependencies.  Now they flaunt them and defy anyone to say it is wrong.  These days, if you so much as suggest these are things to be ashamed of, people will laugh in your face and spit in your eye.

People used to be ashamed to admit they were on the dole.  It was something people understood.  Everyone needs help now and then, but it was something people did not advertise and tried to get off of as quickly as possible.  Now, the third, fourth and fifth generation of never working a day in their lives will call you the stupid one for not taking advantage of the free lunch.  Of course, people no longer see the dole as stealing from their neighbors.  It is the government that does the stealing, but I would think people should still be ashamed to be the recipient of stolen goods (and money).

Sadly, the stupid people seem to be in charge in this “I’m OK, You’re OK” shameless society.

Clue number three:  Making a mistake or doing something wrong does NOT make you a bad person.  However, not being a bad person does NOT make the mistake right or even okay. 

If you are living in a way that is unkind, unhealthy, taking advantage of others or just plain wrong, figure out how to stop.  Then, the next time you do something that you honestly know is wrong, instead of the flippant “My bad” try saying “I was wrong.  I’m sorry.”  Of course, I don’t know if the stupid people will have the courage or strength to say such a thing.  This world does seem to be filled with spineless cowards.

And if you think this was bad (no punches pulled) wait ‘till I start on modesty.  By the way, Christians have no excuse.

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