“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“They Do Not Even Know How to Blush”
(Please read Jeremiah 6:13-15)
Our text is God’s words, when he was heartsick at the conduct of his people. Surely he is equally dismayed today as he looks on a society where people not only break the commandments regarding morality and decency but openly condemn those who dare to point out their need for repentance.
There are folks who routinely use language that is an affront to the ears of God and man, and have not the grace to blush at their own coarseness. The entertainment media seem to celebrate people (real or fictional) whose lifestyles, manner of dress, and manners conflict with those old-fashioned community standards. No doubt you can quickly think of a lot of examples where shame has been replaced by arrogance.
Why is it that so many people “do not even know how to blush”? Well, shame is a painful emotion, and we’re just not “into” pain. We certainly don’t want our children to suffer pain, so children often aren’t taught to be ashamed of doing wrong. Instead of doing kids a favor by avoiding the minor pain of teaching shame, parents may be setting them up for major trouble later.
Shame is triggered by consciousness of guilt, and one of the current catchphrases is Don’t make anyone feel guilty. But a sense of guilt has to be involved in learning the difference between right and wrong. What would have happened at Pentecost if Peter was afraid to make his audience feel guilty?
Shame isn’t the cure-all for delinquency and crime, but it’s a vital part of the cure. Let’s hope the world soon learns how to blush again.