"Shame on you." Makes the red rise up the ears a bit and the throat dry and stomach a little sick. Whether it's said to you or you hear it being said to someone else. I'm thankful my parents never once uttered this phrase to me but I know plenty who have heard it themselves over an over. I've had the attitude of a shamer towards my own kids at times and know first hand it brings about no fruit.
A pastor told me once that Satan uses shame to drive people further into the dark and further into their sin. It's a tool. A tool of the enemy and a tool of the prideful shamer. A way to keep people down instead of calling out truth and offering a way out of the dark. The shamer has no intention of restoring the shamed. I've never witnessed one person change their mind, stop their sin or come to their senses because of shame.
Restoration and healing can only be made in the light. While Jesus met with and dined with the lowliest of sinners, I take note that not once was it in the dark alleys or cover of night. Even at night, they would sit by a burning fire. Christ wants us in the light so He can see all of us, that we hold nothing back - so that we are honest with Him and maybe more importantly, ourselves.
Two well known women in the Bible met Jesus in the light. The Sarmaritan woman at the well came forth thinking she was only going to draw the day's water. Unknowingly, she encounters Christ who calls her out - he asks her to get her husband, she says she has none. He replies, "The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:18) So she's had some relationship problems. He didn't let her off the hook, but notice He didn't call her names or shame her away from the well. He spoke truth and goes on to introduce Himself to her as the Living Water. He shows her that she's been chasing the wrong kind of love. She leaves Him refreshed and shares Him with her village and many believe. Don't you think many of those people were shaming her, too? Even the shamers get healed.
The adulterous woman in John 8 was forced into the light. Caught in the act, the religious people brought her by force the Lord. She's pushed in front of Jesus by the shamers. It probably felt satisfying to expose her. I think they brought her to the right source but their heart wasn't in the right place. They sought to ruin her but Christ sought restoration. In John 8:11 He lets her know He doesn't condemn her but also says boldly, "go and leave your life of sin."
While Christ treats the shamed with dignity. He doesn't forget to call them out on the facts of their life that keep them in the dark. Is there a way as followers of Jesus for us to do the same? We wrestle between judgement and hypocrisy and truly wanting the best for someone who is going down the wrong road. Until it's possible for us to draw someone into the Light and not forcibly shove them in front of the judge, we might consider praying for heart change. To have a heart like the Savior and pray for darkness to shrink back. To know that our pride will not save and admit that only Jesus can.