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             Shame is a complex human emotion. It has a valid place in our lives. We live in a time when many people are shameless, and proud of it. Shame is a sense of pain from an awareness of something done, or undone. Along with shame comes rejection, being put down and people laughing at us. This is why shame is so powerful. Shame is a stark reminder that we have limits or boundaries to our behavior.
            This became the topic of study recently in my Wednesday night class in the book of Proverbs. I approached it by examining the Old Testament usages of “shame,” and related words. I asked the question, “Does shame have any redeeming value?” The answer is yes, if it brings us around to a better state of mind and repentance. The particular proverbs we examined included 3:35; 10:5; 12:4; 13:5; 18:13; 19:26; 25:8, 10 and 29:15.
            Edward Young was correct when he said, “The man that blushes is not quite a brute.” Mark Twain wrote, “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”   According to Blaise Pascal, “The only shame is to have none.” Where’s the shame for dishonest business, crooked politics, pornography, filthy media, foul language, divided homes and outlaw kids? We might at times be ashamed of our actions.
            Sinful Israel was a people no longer able to feel shame (Jere. 6:15). That assessment reveals that godly standards were gone (Psa. 36:1). Why did it happen? First, they had no delight in God’s word (Vs. 10). Second, they were covetous (Vs. 13). Third, they had a false sense of peace (Vs. 14). When people reach these conditions, it is no wonder that they are past feeling. Could it have been avoided? Can it happen to us today? Yes, on both counts. What is the remedy? The remedy is a return to the “old paths” of divine truth! (Vs. 16).
            Circumstances exist for which we should never be ashamed. We should never be ashamed of Jesus Christ (Lk. 9:26). We should never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16). We should never be ashamed to suffer for the truth (Acts 5:41).             Some are ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is perhaps in this area that the shame of Christians is most evident. There are some that feel that they must apologize for God’s requirements. Some are ashamed of the Lord’s body. Some are ashamed of the teaching of Jesus. Some are ashamed of New Testament worship. Some have put out the message, “If you will accept us, we’ll shut up.” They will not preach against sin. They retreat from a distinctive stance of any kind. They will not preach salvation in Christ. They will not follow New Testament worship. They will not tell people what they need to hear. By the clever use of shame Satan has reduced some congregations to no Bible, no truth, no sin and no repentance.
            Some are ashamed to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. Christ taught us not to be ashamed of him or his words (Mk. 8:38). Paul was never ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16). Neither was Paul ashamed to suffer for the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8, 12). Are you ashamed to suffer as a Christian? (1 Pet. 4:16). Times exist when we need to be ashamed. Times also exist when we have no right to be ashamed.