This word is used as a very serious rebuke or criticism against someone. To be called “shameless” was to be socially reprimanded as not having the values that were socially held by society. It’s interesting that in a culture shaped by Christian values the term shame-LESS exists as a rebuke. Our brethren before us understood that the condition of a man’s heart that feels no shame is a most dreadful condition. Other words, like “Blameless” are not a rebuke (they’re even a compliment). You could put “-less” on a lot of words and it wouldn’t carry with it a negative connotation. That is because, in a society so shaped by the gospel, a society where even those who have flatly and sternly rejected Christ have received of the abundance and overflow of His blessings, we carry with us an understanding of the value of shame.
Think about that. There is value in “shame” and falsely removing our awareness of it is very destructive; the value of shame does not come from committing shameful acts, as the term “shameful” is also a derogatory accusation, rather, the value of shame is to recognize immoral and indecent acts as shameful. It is innate in the human soul that wrong and immoral acts carry the sting of shame. To be shameless means that you do not possess the rightful regret and guilt that you should feel over indecent and wrong acts, but even more than that, to be shameless means that you do not even recognize immoral and indecent acts to be shameful; to put it another way, shame is the right response towards shameful acts of a conscience that is still alive!
Imagine a world without a sense of shame? Unless that world was also blameless in God’s eyes, such a world would be a horrific place to live! All the indecent and brazen acts that people are usually afraid to display would be committed with boldness and without hesitation. There would be no sense of remorse, and, therefore, no correction in behavior. There would be no confession of wrong deeds and there would be no repentance of wrong deeds. Those few professing Christians would have no sense of personal conduct and would wander blindly in the same path as the unbelievers committing the same shameful deeds as they.
In the modern secularized society of the world today the humanists have systematically removed the sense of “shame” from the human conscience. “No shame” is the “enlightened” call of modern cultural critics such as Friedrich Nietzsche, author of the idea “death of God“, who said concerning what it means to be humane; “what do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.” The banner of “no shame” leads the onslaught that is marching on virtue, respect, and honor (which are, by the way, antonyms of “shame”).
By contrast, Edmund Burke, who is loosely accredited for the idea of “when good men do nothing, evil triumphs”, once wrote “whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.” Perhaps Edmund Burke saw shame as a kind of watchman that prevented the door of virtue from being shut completely from the heart.
The modern humanists and atheists want to extinguish the cry of “shame” from the human heart because it is one of the voices that declare there is a difference between righteousness, honor, virtue, and integrity, and unrighteousness, dishonor, evil, and corruption!
This is a word that is all but forgotten. Truth is the foundation of shame. Without truth there is no light to illuminate the human soul and our eyes become blind to our own shame; not that shame has been removed or that we have somehow “transcended” shame, merely, that it has been covered by darkness and reserved for the day of the coming of the unapproachable light by which all things will be judged.
George Washington said, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there are pains taken to bring it to light”. But today, truth’s path has perhaps been so severely maligned that the pains necessary to uncover it will often end in social isolation, persecution, and insanity! It ends in social isolation because the society will not bear it. It ends in persecution because the world hates it. It ends in insanity because the doctors will declare it!
Quoting from the same skeptic as before, Friedrich Nietzsche said “Belief in the truth commences with the doubting of all those “truths” we once believed”, and we live in the product of his dream; a world in which no truth goes undoubted, indeed, in a world where doubt is truth, and truth is deceit!
The human heart is a container not capable of being empty for very long; it has an insatiable appetite to be filled. That is why, in a society devoid of shame and unaware of truth, destructive habits of consumerism are so pervasive! That’s why lovers abandon each other in time of need, children selfishly use their parents, substance abuse is running rampant, and self-control seems to be a distant memory.
People are seeking to fill themselves with something. To deny yourself from the things of this world is utterly unthinkable to many people in our generation… maybe even to you.
The deceivers of this world have tried to silence shame to ease the unending outcry of the human conscience and in so doing they have closed the human heart to virtue! And having closed the human heart to virtue and loosed it with the full force of human greed, they went on to malign the way of truth by placing a veil composed of lies and interwoven with strands from every carnal thought and desire. With the heart unresponsive to human dignity and eyes blind to the light of truth, the hope of salvation is a fleeting thought now mocked among the intellectuals.
Have you ever wondered why you can inform an audience of tremendous suffering, even close to home, and that same audience can walk out the door, go to Wendy’s for lunch and do nothing? The human heart is being seared with a hot branding iron that is closing it to virtue.
I’m going to suggest listening to the following video from Ravi Zacharias, a great lecturer and speaker who has some things I think are worth studying.
P.S.- I write this after having watched this video and because I realized something very important while watching it; people in our society are rapidly losing their ability to respond and to discern (see truth) good from evil. If we lose our ability to respond rightly, then I do not believe we can have any hope for salvation. And if we lose our ability to discern good from evil, then we have become blind!
I’ve seen this for many years now, and at this point, I don’t know what else to do except try to expose it in hopes that someone will see it and question, “is it good that I do not feel shame over shameful and indecent acts?” Or, perhaps, “why don’t I feel shame?” And in hopes that we will further ask, “why we are so lost when we are in an age of supposed enlightenment?”
This post is not the answer, but, rather, I hope it exposes something that we all need to become aware of (and if this post does not, please watch the video, for I hope that will).
A final thought to add to this; a people blinded to their own shame and unresponsive to it is one of the final “straws” that comes before the judgment of God…
12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment they shall be cast down,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:12)
I hope we search ourselves daily by the Light and Truth of the scriptures with a meek and humble heart so that we do not become blind to our own shame…
Food for thought.