It’s not bad to feel ashamed when we’ve done shameful things. There is such a thing as a healthy regret. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t.
This post is not about that kind of shame. But rather about the shame that we, the culture, and church project. The kind that makes us worry more about our reputations, than about getting the help we need.
That kind of shame hides. And hidden shame is the devil’s playground.
It’s the shame we feel when we’re told we need to pray more, prayer harder, have more faith. It’s the shame that comes when someone tells us we’re “too blessed to be depressed.”
Elijah was depressed. God didn’t castigate him, but rather fed, and and ministered to, him. Christ himself was so anxious about his life in the garden of Gethsemane that he sweated great drops of blood.
Would you tell him he didn’t have enough faith?
I don’t think so.
So why do we do it to our dear brothers and sisters? Why do we do it so much that dear Christian people are forced to hide?
This ought not to be. People shouldn’t feel ashamed to reach out for the help they need. Yet all too often there is the sound of the church doors being shut and bolted.
“We’ll be praying for you,” comes the voice from the other side of the door. “Need a few meals? Okay, we’ve got that, too. Now move along… we want to sing our happy song.”
But I thought the church was a hospital for the hurting, the wounded, those in need of help? If so why does she so often stigmatize those hurting in ways she can’t understand?
“Oh, we can’t get too close to you, you know. You must have sin in your life.” Yet our Lord Jesus Christ was a friend of sinners, who reached out to touch the lepers.
We’re all to willing to rejoice with those that rejoice, but when it comes time to weep we high tail it out of there…
As if depression, anxiety, or other hidden ailments, were catching. The message implicit in such behavior, quite contrary to the Gospel, is you’re not worth it. You don’t count. We can’t help you.
So we’re not gonna try. But we’ll sure be praying. Let us know when you’re better.
“So sad. Did you hear? So-and-so died. I heard it was suicide. Can you believe it?”
That, friends, is the deadly game of shame.
And it ought not to be.