For the last 3 or 4 weeks God has been dealing with me on the word ~ embarrassment. I am wrestling with the thought that embarrassment comes from one of three thoughts – one out of fear, one out of shame, and the other out of arrogance. Stay with me as I hash this out, outside of my head and let me know your perspective…
When I am embarrassed by behaviors or life situation of others, am I saying, considering, or thinking that I am better than that individual and they should behave and live in a manner that is comfortable or befitting of what I think is right? Yes! I realize we all have an overly intoxicated cousin, a loud friend, an obnoxious co-worker or someone we know up close and personal who wears a 4x but buys a size 12…We all know people who we really wish would act differently. But, if we were honest about what “differently” means ~ I am realizing that it means for me, in a way that fits what “I think” is appropriate. How does the way someone else behave effect you? The people who think less of you because of someone else’s behavior is looking through a lens of piety. What arrogance! Who am I to determine how someone else should act; what they should wear; how they should fix ‘their’ hair; or with whom they should mingle?
When I am embarrassed by my own behavior or life situation, am I saying that others are more important than me and that I should live or behave in a manner that makes them comfortable, because if I don’t I may not be accepted by them? Yes! This is shame or fear of rejection!!! What am I saying to my own soul when I think that I have to assimilate and become something or somebody else in order to fit in with others? What do we say to our soul when we create a pseudo-personality or lifestyle in order for others to think that we are more than even we believe about ourselves? We are saying that we are not enough and that we have to live a lie in order to be accepted! Now don’t get me wrong, I believe there are places that certain behaviors are inappropriate and that we have to exercise some tack and decorum – not necessarily to make others comfortable, but to demonstrate that we have been taught something about social skills. But, I have no right to determine who you should be just so that I am comfortable!
What a posture of arrogance we sit in when we don’t accept people for who they are when we encounter them. Gregory Boyd said in Repenting of Religion that “love is the central command in scripture and judgment is the central prohibition.” Therefore we need to turn to God’s love and away from condemnation. Because if the truth be told, we all have something that we could be working on as we journey towards healing! A close friend challenged me when I said I wish a tennis player would do something with his hair. He asked me why? I said, “First, he’s black and representing us and then it’s just nappy and he looks unkempt!” He said, “Lisa, that guy didn’t sign up as your representative and how do you decide that he looks unkempt. Is it because his hair is not something that you’re okay with?”
That conversation was about 3 years ago, but as I consider the word embarrassment and how typically self-acceptance is not encouraged but rather that people live and exist in a place that is comfortable for others, I’m repentant. So with that, I apologize to every individual that I’ve ever tried to make live in the box that kept me safe at the cost of sacrificing yourself in order to be in relationship with me! Love who God made you to be!
Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Psalm 139:13-14 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Take good care of you…