If shame were personified, its main characteristic would be its ability to creep into the darkest depths, avoiding any trace of light and any discussion of itself.
I must admit, I was a shy child. Shame is a lesson well learned. However, I don’t know if it is always correctly learned.
Jessica was 19 when she had to tell her parents, both practicing Christians, that she was pregnant. That moment generated a real earthquake in the young woman’s family who, together with her boyfriend at the time, had been strongly involved in the purity movement, an ideology that promotes sexual abstinence until marriage, for religious reasons.
Mainstream culture has tried to airbrush guilt out of everyday life. It’s the ultimate social faux pas, it seems, to make someone feel guilty—How dare you judge me! Or maybe it’s the penultimate faux pas, because what’s even worse than making someone feel guilty inside is to shame them in front of others.
Nothing else on earth judges a person as ruthlessly as their own conscience, and truthfully, nothing else should. The painful process happens before and after the harm has been done.
A cold flash, like the strange, icy feeling after a burn, runs through his body with every breath. He feels his heart racing. It feels like it is counting down to the moment when it will explode—or, mercifully, to the moment when he will turn his pillow to the cooler side, and finally fall asleep.
Imagine the conversation between God and Adam after Adam had sinned, seen himself naked for the first time (in more ways than one) and hidden from God. To the piercing question, "Why did you hide?" Adam replied, "Because I was naked". Reading between the lines, we detect the subtext: "I hid myself, for one cannot come naked before God."
Our greatest, most desperate need today is not the type of change which loses its power over time, but that which leads to our transformation into a permanent Good.