As I continue my series on shame, I have the honor of hosting Denise Pass, author, speaker, and worship leader. Here she explores the purpose of shame. Is it ever a good thing? Here’s what she has to say:
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God–I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
Tucked in a chapter about the resurrection life we have in Christ are these verses in which Paul is shaming the people of God. None of us like to hear “shame on you” and we typically think people who shame others are judgmental and legalistic. But sometimes the shame fits. What then?
Sometimes we need a wake-up call. We can lose our way in this life and become lulled into a false sense of what matters. This was the case for the church at Corinth. They were becoming worldly and the world around them was lost. The very people intended to reach others were too entrapped by their own sin to notice the dire need of those they were meant to reach. Instead of reaching the lost, the lost pulled them down.
How did this happen? Could it happen to us today? Oh, yes. We become complacent in our mission by degrees. It starts off innocently enough, at times a little compromise here or there in the name of freedom, perhaps, and before we know it, we are not on the same path. We likely do not even recognize our waywardness because rationalization tries to keep us comfortable in our quasi-deadened state.
When my children were little, I shared these verses above from Corinthians throughout their childhood. I did not want them to become judgmental or self-righteous in their determination of who was “good” company, but I wanted them to know the affect that our relationships can have on us. Most of my children are grown up now and have seen the validity of this principle of keeping good company versus bad company – sometimes in painful ways.
God has been faithful to keep their hearts and it was shame that revealed their need of God. Mine, too.
Motive Behind the Shame
As we filter through the shame that fits when God lovingly exposes our sin, we have to first understand the motive of His heart – to free us from the damage sin causes – and to enable us to live an abundant life.
Purpose Behind the Shame
Shame was never supposed to mean permanent condemnation. It is to be a catalyst to move us out of dysfunction and sin and toward God’s purposes.
Shame is redemptive when we apply it in a biblical way. Simply receive what God is speaking to our hearts and let go of what He isn’t. As we let go of the residual shame that still tries to accuse our soul, we hold onto the lessons we learned from encountering shame.
God lovingly draws us back to Himself and sometimes He uses shame to remind us of the purpose He has called us to. What a kind God. We need boundaries and we need consequences to keep us focused on what we were created for – to know God and to make Him known.
The amazing thing is that although we will all encounter shame in our lives and sometimes have to own it, we are more than conquerors through our LORD Jesus Christ. Shame, sin, and death no longer have any more sting on us. Shame off us!
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:56-58
Denise Pass is an author, speaker and CCM worship leader from Fredericksburg, VA, where she lives with her amazing husband and 5 children, whom she home educates. Denise is passionate about writing devotions and music that foster unshakable hope and healing in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Her ministry umbrella, Seeing Deep in a Shallow World seeks to be a compass grounded in Scripture and a place where real problems meet real, transparent faith and needed answers in Scripture.