Shame diminishes not only our effectiveness for the Kingdom in
this life but also our eternal rewards in the life to come. If we
are ashamed of Christ before men, He will be ashamed of us before
His Father at the Judgment Seat.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the
Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of
the Father and of the holy angels. (Matthew 1O:32-33)
God's cure for shame is revealed in a passage from the
masterful allegory, Pilgrim's Progress. In this scene the
character, Faithful, tells his friend, Christian, about being
accosted by Shame, one of the enemy's craftiest agents.
Faithful: Indeed this Shame was a bold villain. I could
scarcely shake him out of my company. He haunted me and
continually whispered to me about how unmanly it is to take
Christian: What did he say to you?
Faithful: He objected against Religion itself! He said, 'Twas a
pitiful, low, sneaking business for a man to mind Religion; he
said that a tender Conscience was an unmanly thing; and that for a
man to watch over his Words and Ways was to tie himself up from
that liberty that the brave Spirits of the Times accustomed
themselves to. He pointed out that only a few of the Mighty, Rich,
or Wise were Christians. None of them became Christians, in fact,
until they were persuaded to be fools. He spoke of their Ignorance
and their lack of understanding in all the Natural Sciences. He
said that Religion makes a man the ridicule of the Times!
Christian: And what did you say to him?
Faithful: Say! I did not know what to say at first. The more I
listened to him, the more the blood rushed to my face. I was
almost overcome by Shame, but then I asked myself: "Which is more
important: what people think or what God thinks?" And of course, I
knew the answer to that! That which is highly esteemed among Men
is an abomination with God. Therefore, what God says is best,
though all the men in the world are against it. God prefers his
Religion; God prefers a tender Conscience; they that make
themselves fools for the Kingdom of Heaven, are wisest; and the
poor man that loves Christ, is richer than the greatest man in the
world that hates him; Shame, depart, you are my Enemy; shall I
entertain your thoughts rather than those of my Lord? How then
shall I look him in the Face at his Coming?
When we are accosted by Shame the cure is clear: we must turn
away from what people think to focus on what God thinks.
Turn away from man, in whose nostrils is breath, for of what
account is he? (Isaiah 2:22)