Summary: VARIETIES OF THE WAY PAUL USED SHAME, GUILT, ANXIETY IN PERSUADING PEOPLE FOR CHRIST
VARIETIES OF THE WAY PAUL USED SHAME, GUILT, ANXIETY IN PERSUADING PEOPLE FOR CHRIST
1. Innocent Shame Guilt, Anxiety - Tension felt when one’s character is slandered without justification. Someone may be guileless, harmless, and lacking any responsibility for a wrong doing, but be wrongly accused. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when you are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for yours is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:13)
2. Deserved Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Tension experienced before others when one violates a normal cultural-social-spiritual code of ethics. Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
3. Social Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Embarrassment felt when one makes a social error or commits a community taboo. Romans 14:13 says, "Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil."
4. Familial Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Some families condition their children to a mechanisms that control, discipline, or punish using these devices more severely than others. Paul told the Thessalonians, "As a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, we were well pleased to impart to you not the gospel only, but also our own lives, for you were very dear to us." (I Thes. 2:7,8)
5. Handicap Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Embarrassment over some body, spiritual, mental, or physical defect. Paul, who suffered from an embarrassing thorn in the flesh said, "Three times, I asked the Lord to take away this stigma, but He has said to me, ’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly we I boast in my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. The less I have the more I depend on Him." (2 Cor. 12:9,10)
6. Incompetency Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Tension over one’s inability to perform a task according to certain standards of proficiency. Paul told Timothy how to avert this when he said, "Study to show yourself approved by God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth." (I Tim. 2:15)
7. Discrimination Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Downgrading of persons treated as socially, racially, ethically, religiously, or vocationally inferior. Paul told Timothy in I Tim. 4:12, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness (Which was a point for discrimination in Timothy’s day by the elders) but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself to be an example to believers."
8. Modesty Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Tension related to sexual, social, or cultural norms and prescribed correct behavior. Paul told the Romans, "As far as it is possible be at peace with all men."
9. Inadequacy Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Feelings of a low self-image or inability to perform to a certain level of acceptability. This feeling may come from repeated failures, rejection, or passivity. Gen. 3:7 we learn about the first instance of shame in the Bible, "The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
10. Public Shame, Guilt, Anxiety - Open ridicule in the community as punishment or group pathology. 2 Sam. 10:4 says, "The men were greatly ashamed and the king said, "Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return."
11. Anticipated Shame, Guilt, or Anxiety - The fear of exposure for any planned or desired behavior. Jer. 2:26 says, "As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets. They say to wood, ’You are my father. and to stone, You gave me birth. They have turned their backs to me and not their faces."
(Adapted from Noble and Augsburger, 1975:4-6 and 1986:117)
Shame is most effective where people relate to one another largely through face to face interactions. The offender in a shame culture who is exposed cannot hide from the painful results that follow. Shame and disgrace are extremely powerful tools of social control throughout Africa. Many people are inhibited from speaking, acting, or even thinking disrespectfully toward the elders in most African societies as this would lead to grave shame. There is a great emphasis throughout African cultures in acting to avoid offense behavior. Take for example the following Yoruba story taken from Bakarae Gbadamosi’s Not Even God is Ripe Enough, p. 46, 47)
Case Study - Everyday is for the Crook, but one day is for the deceived.
There was once a young man who was poor, because his father had a very small farm and he had not learnt any trade. Then he decided one day to leave his village, because the man who sits under a tree too long will have birds defecating on his head.