Tag Archives: Laziness

Healthy Shame

I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children.
1 Corinthians 4:9-13 (NIV)

A friend told me the other day of his teenager who had been faced with the truth of their self-centered, uncaring attitude. When the reality of the teen’s selfishness set in, the teen was crushed in spirit and retreated to their bedroom to sulk. The father chose not to rescue the teen from their emotions in that moment, but to allow the realization and resulting feelings of shame to set in.

I have done a lot of study on the topic of shame and have even given messages and workshops on the subject. Unhealthy shame can certainly be toxic to life in an abundant ways. Shame, however, can and does serve healthy purposes as well.

When I was a young teenager I was gently shamed by a teacher when she publicly pointed out in front of my peers that I acted selfishly towards the group. It was not unhealthy shame which says, “You are an awful and completely worthless individual. There is no hope for you.” It was, rather, healthy shame which says, “Your actions are self-centered and hurtful. You can, and should, be better than this. Something in you needs to change.” That moment of healthy shame in the Home Ec room of Meredith Junior High School, and the awful feelings it created in my soul for a long time, was one of the most important moments in leading me to the realization of my deep need to change, and my utter need of a Savior.

My friend chose to let his teen sit in their room stewing in healthy shame, even though it was hard to see his child struggle. There’s a piece of a parent’s heart that always wants to rescue our child from pain, but it is absolutely critical that a parent have the wisdom to know that some pain and suffering is essential to growing up and maturing spiritually, emotionally, and in relationships.

I am concerned as I see a generation of children growing up with parents and a culture intent on shielding them from any and all discomfort or suffering. We seem to be under the delusion that any pain is bad for us: Cheer up. Take a pill. Entertain yourself. Throw a party. Whatever you do, don’t feel bad.

God’s Message says the opposite of that. We should rejoice when we suffer discomforts in this life because of the truth that our suffering produces perseverance, character, hope. I think it’s important to point out that the opposite is equally true. If we avoid suffering it produces in us laziness, foolishness, and hopelessness.

Today, I’m thankful for suffering healthy shame which taught me humility and my need of God. I’m hopeful that I have been wise in knowing when to shield my children from pain and when to let them feel their discomfort. I am prayerful that their continued struggles and sufferings in their young adults years are producing measurable depth of character, perseverance, and hope.

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 12

English: Large amount of pennies
Image via Wikipedia

A hard worker has plenty of food, 
      but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.
Proverbs 12:11 (NLT) 

I one knew a man who chased fantasies. He did not go to college even though he could have done so free of charge because of his parents positions with a local university. Intelligent and personable, he could have easily made his way through school and found success in any number of life endeavors. He chose instead to chase after quick money in a number of schemes both legal and illegal.

For several years I had opportunity to run into this gentleman every year or so. Each time we spoke there was another get rich quick scheme he was chasing after. If there was an infomercial on at 3:00 a.m. claiming to make you rich in 30 days, my friend was putting up his money for the books, cassettes and DVDs and giving it a whirl. Of course, they never worked because he never worked.

Seeking endlessly after the fantasy job that will pay you more for working less will not lead to good places. Working hard at the job you’re given; Proving yourself faithful, reliable and willing to do the task you’re given leads to more rewarding opportunities.

As I read the proverb above from today’s chapter it struck me that “a person who chases fantasies has no sense,” he also has “no cents.”