|photo credit: bruckerrlb via photopin cc|
Shame is a powerful force, like an explosive. A person full of shame is unpredictable, even dangerous to himself and others. He feels sub-human, unworthy, unloved. Shame is no mere trinket in the hands of the powerful; it must be handled with care. More and more, though, it seems people are using shame to “correct” others.
Parents publicly shame their teens on Facebook, outing them for drinking or disobeying in some other way. Even toddlers aren’t immune as at least one father posted a photo online of the child wearing a sign describing her pooping in the shower. But it’s not just the internet. A recent story told of a mother whodemanded her children wear shirts to school labeling them as a thief and a bully as punishment for their indiscretions. Spend enough time at Target or at the grocery store and you’ll hear parents four aisles away berating their children for some mistake.
Pastors, too, do this to congregants. One pastor publicly calls out gay teens in his church and embarrasses them. Another stops his sermon to yell at a man speaking to a neighbor during service—public shaming from the pulpit. All of these examples are a flippant use of a dangerous force.
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