Ever felt like you need to tell someone they should be ashamed of themselves? I have. I’ve felt the urge to call someone out for their shameful behavior, and admit that sometimes I’ve not only felt the urge but followed right on through with it and done my level best to shame them.
It’s not a pretty sight, and there’s nothing cute or funny in it like when this guy* does it:
One big problem with calling someone out for their shameful behavior is it opens me up to criticism for all the things I should be ashamed of too.
I’m not a fan of that.
I don’t think that shaming others is the right way to deal with problems anyway. There might be a reason to tell someone they’re wrong, but it should never be at the expense of their dignity.
After all, every single person who acts shamefully is also a person who has been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:14.)
So when it comes to shameful behavior, I’d rather remember the caution Jesus gave us:
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42.)
I don’t want to call out “Shame, shame!” I want to call out words of grace and mercy and kindness. And I want to receive those words as my sisters and brothers reach toward my eye to remove the speck or log or whatever I need help with.
That’s much better than shaming anyone.
*10,000 interwebz to anyone who identifies that character, and another 10,000 interwebz for the context in which he’d call out the shame. Multiple prizes will be awarded: every commenter who gives the correct or nearly correct answer, even if they got the answer by reading another comment, will win! Interwebz may be illusory and non-existent, but they certainly are worthless.