Have you seen the “pet-shaming” photos? They are rather clever and funny: a sullen cat with a sign next to her stating that she dropped a half-eaten mouse on her person’s pillow, an apologetic dog with a sign tied around his neck announcing his crime of eating the pizza off the kitchen counter. All done in fun, with the animal not really understanding what is going on and the owner relieving some frustration with good humor. But what about “child-shaming”? What do you think of that?
I have seen some photos posted on the internet with a child publicly having to admit how they blew it. There was even a classified ad in which an irate mom was selling her son’s truck because he had participated in underage drinking. But what about putting your child on a public street corner and forcing him to hold a sign telling everyone that he “likes to steal from” the large box store behind him?
At first when I heard of this happening locally, I thought to myself, “He certainly won’t steal again!” The group of workmen who were chatting about it all agreed that the kid deserved it, and what a great idea it was for his mom to stand there and make him publicly proclaim his crime. And I must admit, I thought that way for a short while. Until our pastor said something that struck my heart and got me thinking…
God does not shame us, even when we deserve it. When we mess up horribly, He comes alongside us and draws us back to Him. We are gently told to “remember, repent, and repeat”. God is in the business of restoration, not destruction.
And then I thought of how I would feel if I were publicly shamed. Whether I deserved it or not, whether it caused me to change my behavior or not, I would be devastated. My soul would be wounded. Just having my mother scold and rebuke me in front of her friends for being in her way was painful as a child. Being humiliated on one of the busiest street corners in town? I cannot begin to imagine the damage to a soul.
Thanks be to God that He doesn’t shame us! Oh, sometimes we manage to get ourselves into a humiliating situation, and deservedly so. But any guilt trips, any public despising, any soul wounding, comes from the father of lies, not from our heavenly Father. Any correction or rebuke from God is given in love, with ample doses of mercy and grace. Reproof is often quite painful for the moment, but when God disciplines us He does it to restore us, never to destroy us. Like parents teaching their young child about right behavior for his or her own safety, that is how God seeks to teach us. For our own safety and good. In love.
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” ~ Galatians 6:1-2
“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15
“O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. O LORD, correct me, but with justice; not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing.” ~ Jeremiah 10:23-24
“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives’… Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” ~ Hebrews 12:5-6, 11
Jesus is in the sheep herding business. We are the silly sheep who wander away and do stupid things, putting our very lives in danger. Yet He continually watches over us, leads us back into the fold, fights off the enemy, and gently restores us. Jesus loves us. To the cross and back.
” ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd…
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.’ ” ~ John 10:9-16, 27-30
I am so thankful for my Shepherd’s restoration and leading! 🙂