Is It Wrong For A Christian To Shame Someone?

Would Jesus shame someone? Are His disciples forbidden to shame others? In this article we will see the Word of God is very clear on this matter.
Is It Wrong For A Christian To Shame Someone?
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

Over a half century ago society had no qualms about shaming someone when they were truly wrong. Many now are steering away from shaming those truly in the wrong. This temperament has made its way into many Christian churches and fellowships, especially those who put a great emphasis upon the love of God.

But then, speaking of love, I recall my parents. Well, in my case for certain reasons which I do not have time to get into, my mom was the disciplinarian. The wooden spoon in the kitchen draw knew me very well. But, of course, my sister and I

were disciplined in many ways, one of which was hearing the words, “shame on you!” My parents loved me and disciplined me in many ways, including shame.

However, as I teach new converts, we must not go by everything our parents said or did. That is also true of society. Nay, the one and only set of standards we are to live by are found in the Holy Bible.

In researching for this article I found there were hundreds of entries for “shame” and “ashamed.” There were also multiple topics a God-lover could explore. There is false shame. There occasions when Christians will be shamed by the world based on their standards and by the grace of God we are to count such instances as minor and, in fact, an honor if we are shamed because of the Gospel of Christ.

But, should a Christian shame anyone? Let us start with Jesus Christ. Before we do, some will immediately say, “Do not judge!” Many of those who say that have not read the context of the Lord’s admonition in Matthew 7:1 because just a handful of verses away from that statement He says “Beware of false prophets” and “you shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). We are to determine who are spiritual dogs and swine (Matthew 7:6). God willing I will address that topic at a later date. Oh, by the way, if they did read the context they tend to ignore it.

Jesus Christ Shamed Others

There will be many when they hear it said that Jesus shamed others who will object to a Christian doing so by saying, “But that is Jesus, not us.” Well, what makes a real Christian a real Christian? Is it not Jesus on the inside of us? The world would have us to be like the pseudo-Jesus they have created, the Jesus Who was nice to everyone all the time -- well except to those nasty Pharisees. And, immediately, in the mind of some, the moment a Christian acts like the Jesus who told it like it is then that Christian is a nasty religious Pharisee. We will soon see the Pharisees were not the only ones shamed by Jesus.

Since we have mentioned them, let us start with the Pharisees and with them let us bring in the Sadducees, lawyers, scribes, et al. Some were called unseen graves (Luke 11:44), blind (Luke 15:14), hypocrites (Luke 12:56) and more. Speaking about using the word “hypocrite” here is a passage from Luke 13:10-17. Hopefully, as you read it, you can sense the Lord’s hot anger. I am going to emphasize some things with larger print and underlining. 

“And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.11 And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your sickness." 13 And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. 14 But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, "There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day." 15 But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? 16 And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?" 17 As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.”

Think now Jesus said “You hypocrites” in a soft, sweet tone? I hope not. And, behold what happened: “all His opponents were being humiliated.” Again, remember if you are a Christian this very same Jesus dwells in you. Reject the sugar pills of the world. It is high time we all show forth the Jesus of righteousness, godliness, and holiness. He was never tolerant of sin.

Jesus would shame people when as He was led by the Holy Spirit. He loved them, so from time to time we all need a “wake up call” unto righteousness. And, as you know, He certainly loved His disciples. We must keep in mind, though, He expressed godly love by using the godly tool of shaming at times. Consider this encounter between Peter and Jesus as recorded in Mark 8:31-33:

“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.’”

Peter deeply loved Jesus and in his mind would do anything for Him. How do you think Peter felt when He was rebuked by Jesus? And, to my knowledge, most times, if not all times, Jesus had at least a sliver of teaching when shaming someone. Priceless is the nugget we see when He says to Peter, “you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.” It is an admonition to all of us to put the purposes and will of God first at all times. There were other times He shamed His disciples by what He said to them, a few being Mark 4:13, 8:17, and Luke 24:25.

What about the unsaved? How do you think the Syrophoenician woman felt when she begged Jesus for deliverance for her daughter from satanic attack and Jesus calls her a dog (Mark 7:24-30)? Yes, I know He meant “little dogs,” but He still called her a dog! I would also think the woman at the well felt shame when Jesus told her she was a fornicator (John 4:18) and so did the man born blind when Jesus said to him (John 5:14), “do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 

But, Should Christians Shame?

Moving to Christians now once again let us remember that a Christian is a real Christian when Jesus Christ Who redeemed them dwells within them. If Jesus Christ dwells within someone all that He morally is and all that He did resides in that person. So if Jesus was led by the Spirit to shame someone at times the true Christian has that ability too.

The Corinthian church had numerous problems, but probably the most glaring was how they did nothing about a man in their church who was having sex with his stepmother. By the Holy Spirit Paul gives them a lengthy rebuke in 1 Corinthians 5 and then says (verse 13) “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." I do not know about you, but if I were that wicked man I would be ashamed.

By the Holy Spirit Paul rebukes them strongly again in chapter 6 for taking a dispute amongst church members to public court. By the Spirit he writes in verses 5 and 6, “I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?” Did you see the word shame? And he does not stop there. By the Spirit he rebukes them over many other things and the term “shame” is later mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:34, “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

The Church should shame unbelievers as directed by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:11 records “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” Older translations might have “reprove” for expose, but either way there is more there than what the English language can express. The Greek word means {1} . . . 


1) to convict, refute, confute 
1a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted 
1b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose 
2) to find fault with, correct 
2a) by word 
2a1) to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove 
2a2) to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation 
2b) by deed 

Ah! Do you see the “1a)” entry by


James Strong? And I would think “to find fault with, correct, . . . to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove” ought to shame someone too, at least sometimes. Sadly, though, much of today’s Church has become soft and sugary, and casts a twisted view of the love of God when it fails to mention holiness, godliness, and righteousness. God did not love us through Christ so that we remain sinners.

Godly Shame Can Be As Soul-Saving Warning Signal

Shame did not enter into the world until Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:7). They then realized they were naked. They hid themselves from the presence of YHVH (The Existing One). Their spiritual composition gave them a warning signal that their personal image of God sustained injury. It needed detection and correction. Godly shame is an indicator of damage done.

It is also to be remembered they ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Part of the consequences were that they came to personally know not just good, but now evil. And while to a degree their godly shame could be good in a sense that it was a warning, their sin of disobedience opened them up to the possibilities of godly shame not being properly dealt with, as well as the ravages of ungodly shame.

Here is an example of what I mean. Let us say it is the 1800s and both you and I are young ladies, let us say around the age of 22 (bear with me a bit with this example). We are not married but had sex with a guy who is no longer in town. We find out we are pregnant. We are ashamed (and I am using the 1800s because in all probability most would be ashamed -- unlike today). Now, the fact is there are always more unsaved, unredeemed people than born again Christians. But let us say we were blessed with truly godly parents. While they would confirm we should be ashamed, and perhaps present us with some type of discipline, they would guide us back to Jesus. There would be some rough times ahead but the main things would be we would acknowledge our sin, truly repent and press on in the Lord.

Fast forward to today. There is a high probability of no shame, and oftentimes there is no shame the sinner can detect. This weakens the probability of godly repentance. Couple this with the prevalence of the teaching of cheap grace, or grace without the holiness of grace and the result is a spiritually crippled individual that has less of a chance of entering the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, the institution of marriage suffers injury as well as the sanctity of sex.

One reason why very few if any experience shame is because some used the warning system called shame to crush a person and not help them. This has occurred because most people are unsaved and so have no idea how to shame someone then reconcile that person to God. And, when it comes to Christians, many, if not most, have accepted the lie that a Christian is always to be “nice” and not “judgmental.” Anyone who does follow the Holy Bible principles of dealing with sin in regard to shaming are labeled as self-righteous.

The proper way to go about it is to first of all be directed by the Holy Spirit of God. Secondly, we are to remember to use shame as a tool for godly repentance. Our objective as a coworker with God must be to humbly bring the erring one to Him realizing that when we step out of the grace of God we are also an erring one. If the erring one truly repents we are to assure them of the forgiveness of God and that He is faithful and will cleanse the repentant one. The moment there is true repentance we must extend the mercy of God. But the catalyst to all this might just be godly shame.

Consider 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” There you have it: godly balance!
  
In closing, let us return to the situation in the Corinthian church where one of their members was practicing fornication. By the Spirit he writes in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. 2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.” He is shaming the Corinthian church and states the fornicator needs to be removed, which would be a shame to that person.

When we read 2 Corinthians we find out they obeyed. The result was that the fornicator was truly sorry and repented. By the Holy Spirit Paul then writes (2 Corinthians 2:6-8), “Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, 7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.”

I rejoice that some churches still follow this God-sanctioned pattern. Better yet, in my opinion, is when the erring one senses shame and eventually deals with it in a godly manner. I know of a case where a man was committing adultery. I am not sure if he stopped attending church or not, but I do know he chose not to receive the Lord’s Supper. We and others prayed for him, and his wife loved him and forgave him. He returned to the Lord! After a season he was receiving the Lord’s Supper again.

When I see someone ashamed for the proper reason I see hope. When I was a news reporter there came a moment when our office received a phone call that some bank robbers, a man and a woman, had been caught. I drove up to the police station in Hurlock, Maryland. The lady had been taken upstairs where she confessed to the crime. I heard her cry and I sensed a level of shame. I considered this to be good, for I considered there was hope.

Brothers and sisters please turn a deaf ear to the world system that has infiltrated the church, the system that hisses the lie we should never shame someone. No. There is a way to go about it. It needs to be done as led by the Holy Spirit. And out of love we need to help every erring one, including ourselves, to confront sin, feel ashamed we have brought reproach to the Name of Christ, ask for God’s forgiveness, and walk in His Way of Holiness unto Eternal Life.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

Find more apologetics information at http://thesureword.expertscolumn.com/ , and please visit this ministry’s apologetics index at http://sapphirestreams.com/life/api.html .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

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Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 10-11-2017 69 4

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  • nbillett  13-11-2017
    I remember reading out aloud the story of the syrophoenician woman and questioning if Jesus had really called the woman a dog. It was quite powerful and still is to me. More so that the woman took It so gracefully. People in my area of living would not have taken It so well.That would have been the beginning of a huge argument. I have witness People shaming others for their own elevation. I have tried to be the one to bring clarity to such situations. To an extent there has been progress. However, there is work still to be done and with faith and guidance from the Holy Spirit we will see the permissive will of God.
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    • BrotherPete  17-11-2017
      Aye. Shaming someone in order to be elevated is sin. Christians ought to be directed by the Holy Spirit and when God so directs shame someone and hopefully that will help them enter His kingdom.
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  • iggy  12-11-2017
    Shame can be used as a positive to motivate some to do better or live differently, Others may call this manipulation. Being a Christian myself, I feel it should not be used to influence others in any way. Shame and guilt usually go hand in hand, this can do more harm than good to someone already dealing with one or the other.
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    • BrotherPete  13-11-2017
      Correct. That is why Christians are to shame only when and how as directed by the Holy Spirit and according to written Word of God. To not be open to that responsibility would even be worse because without guilt (especially guilt) and shame many will remain damned.
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