South Africans have a great expression when something bad happens to one. It could be anything from stubbing your toe to expressing condolences for losing a loved one. We say, “Aagh shame”. For example, you may say to your friend, “My husband lost his job on Friday”. And your friend will reply with a “Aagh shame, I am sorry to hear that!”.
Not Aagh shame!
But the shame I am writing about is not the “aagh shame” shame. I am talking about shaming people. The online Cambridge dictionary defines shame as, the act of publicly criticizing and drawing attention to someone, especially on the internet.
Google gives synonymy’s for shaming as, humiliate, mortify, make someone feel ashamed and embarrassed.
Social Media Shaming
And I am specifically focusing around thekind of shaming we see on social media. There is something inside of us that gives us satisfaction when we can shame or embarrass someone.
There is an interesting story in the bible. Noah, yes the guy who built the ark. After the flood water had subsided and something happened. He had too much to drink. His youngest son, Ham exposed his father’s nakedness to his brothers, Shem and Japheth.
This is what they did, “Shem and Japheth took a cloak, held it between them from their shoulders, walked backwards and covered their father’s nakedness, keeping their faces turned away so they did not see their father’s exposed body” Gen 9:23.
I am not sure this is about a literal experience. I think it is a metaphor for shaming. Ham had shamed his father and exposed his nakedness. The result was Ham was cursed by his father.
Expose or cover
What does this mean for us today? When we see someone fail, do something wrong… we can either expose or shame them, or “cover their nakedness”.
My thought is that every time you want to shame someone, think again. Call it karma, call it sowing and reaping. I think that the “shamer” will one day be shamed themselves.
Jesus said it this way, It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour. (Matt 7:3-5 in the Message version)
Let’s be human
Let’s be the ones who cover others nakedness. Let us be the ones to wash the sneer of our face before offering to “shame” others!
This is what is means to be human.
If you have been shamed, this article may help you.
Have you been shamed? How did it you get through it? Let me know in the comment section?