“Mockery makes me feel ashamed which discourages me from making stupid ideas permanent. When stupid ideas become permanent, it can ruin your life.”
For the record I am totally opposed to the idea expressed in this John Branyan quote. In fact, the concept itself is a, “stupid idea made permanent,” one that has heavily afflicted the Christian world and done eons of damage to our witness, to our faith, to our ability to relate to one another and relate to God Himself.
What is mockery and shaming? It is impotent and powerless people attempting to use fear and manipulation to try to control and manage the behavior of others. Also, it doesn’t really work. You can control a tiny number of already broken people pleasers vulnerable to bullies, but that’s about it. The vast majority are going to rebel at some point, as they should. Shame doesn’t cause conformity, it causes rebellion and endless self harm.
Alcoholics and addicts drink and drug because of shame. People cut themselves because of shame. Sex sells so well in our culture, because of shame. John Crist the comedian caused harm to several women, while also cultivating a long term sex addiction, because of shame. Those women allowed that wound in their own selves to fester and get infected because shame.
Shame is just like pouring fuel on a stupid idea and making it permanent.
A while back I told someone I adore, “watch your pride.” It probably sounded like a rebuke or a criticism, but that wasn’t it at all. I said it because the flip side of our pride is always shame. If you want to protect yourself from the pain of shaming shamers and the shame they traffic in, surrender your pride.
People in a state of humility cannot be humiliated.
My words were not intended as a rebuke at all, but as a reminder that we Christians have a powerful weapon in our arsenal against those who attempt to use shame and fear to control us, to wear us down, to try to force us to come into agreement with defeat.
That’s all shame is, a game weak minded bullies play.
The Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” If it’s not from God, then it’s from the other guy, which means we have no business trafficking in it.
Shame drove my mother and father away from the church, away from God Himself, and they became rabid atheists. Unfortunately they tried to take 3 kids down with them, in a myriad of cruel and shaming ways. My sister’s brain has been nearly destroyed by a drug addiction fueled by shame. My brother has fled to the wilderness. I myself have spent some fifty years letting the Lord pluck out festering thorns that were not even mine to carry in the first place.
Jesus Christ for the joy set before Him went to the cross, despising the shame, on our behalf. Do not be deceived into believing that shame somehow heals people or that like small children we can just shame others and cause their behavior to change. That is false, simplistic, and it demonstrates a misunderstanding, an ignorance as to the truth and nature of human psychology.
I’m not trying to shame anyone in this post, nor to partake in cancel culture or some kind of social justice mission, it’s simply a plea, it’s me begging people like one of the prophets of old, begging people to stop, to turn away from this deception that has done so much damage to people, that has truly destroyed crops, that has inflicted generational curses, that has caused so much needless suffering, that has caused people to flee from the Lord rather than run towards Him.
Jesus had some tough words for people who traffic in shaming others. He called them vipers and white washed tombs and He accused them of making others twice as much a child of hell as you are. I have a sharp wit and a beautiful sarcasm, but these things really can be sinful, and as such I have to be extremely careful with them.
The Lord works for good all things, and one thing He has really taught me is how to use my sarcasm, my urge to mock, as a canary in the coal mine, as a temperature gage that indicates I am feeling powerless, impotent, victimized, and helpless. And that happens with some frequency, but rather than just laying there, rather then indulging in the urge, He says, okay, so let’s just get you back to being powerful again.
Christians need to change, Christian culture needs to change. So does the secular world, the cancel culture, the endless shaming as social justice, but Christians are called to a higher standard, and Christians are called to lead the way.