The Importance of Shame

Two of the most important concepts in Christian living involve shame.

These are difficult concepts for American Christians to fully grasp, however, because of our limited understanding of the concept of shame. Our sense of honor and disgrace has been so colored by a broadening individualism that when a member of society does something contrary to social norms we often don’t know whether to applaud their uniqueness or condemn their behavior. Our collective list of taboos has been shrinking.

But, shame has been and still is an incredible important cultural motivator in much of the world. So called “honor killings” in Muslim societies, in which family members murder fellow family members who have brought shame on the family name, illustrate the concept in an extreme way. The principle, though, runs deep in many cultures, and still maintains a small foothold in the Western world. We still teach our kids that what they do reflects on their family, on their parents, on their church and their school. Continue reading

Who’s to Blame?

I have one brother, Taylor, and he is younger.  And by that I mean that he is always wrong… especially when faced with a situation of parental wrath.  Some of you may think that being the baby in the family is the best thing to be, and that the baby always gets spoiled.  Those of you who think this way have not been in a two-child home: a situation that, by some natural force not yet known to science, results in one wiser, more mature, older sibling, and one immature, pestering, trouble-causing, younger sibling, who is always to blame.

Now, to be fair, I must qualify the actual effects of this natural law of which I have spoken: the fact that the younger sibling is always at fault is not his fault. Continue reading