Home > Jeremiah Was a Dragon-Man > Jeremiah Was A Dragon-Man: You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself!

Jeremiah Was A Dragon-Man: You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself!

“They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
When there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
They did not know how to bush,
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord.

Jeremiah 6:14-15

The priests and the prophets of Jerusalem are trying to fix the problem of Judah by proclaiming “peace.” They are teaching the people they message that they want to hear: “Don’t worry, the wound is light and is over now, everything will be fine. You are at peace with God and therefore the Land will be at peace.” The problem is that this message is a total lie and a part of the continuous cover-up of Israel’s sin and God’s impending judgment that the people and rulers of Israel continue to ignore or declare false. This cover up is one of Israel’s biggest and most incessant issues.

Repeatedly, we read that Judah is returning only in pretense, they aren’t acknowledging their guilt, they refuse to own up to their own sin and turn from it, and here we read that they aren’t even ashamed when they are doing what is very shameful. Jeremiah mentions this idea that Israel should feel shameful about the sin they have committed a few times (at least in chapter 3 and 8). Israel is guilty of shameful behavior, which causes their judgment, and part of their judgment is to be put to shame and having their shame revealed (7:19, 8:9, 13:26).*

The shame of Israel is something horrendous and destructive, and that which could lead to their salvation. The people of Judah are reproached and condemned for their sinful and shameful past, but their main problem is not idolatry, but a refusal to acknowledge its shamefulness, take responsibility for their guilt, and turn to God whose heart’s desire it is to prosper them. What YHWH describes through Jeremiah is a shame that is present whether or not the people of Judah feel or admit the shame. Because they won’t admit their shame, they can only come before God pretentiously and proudly. Therefore, the guilt and shame of Judah remain, and “they shall fall among those who fall.”

Although Scripture speaks against it, the idea that the people of God should be, at times, ashamed is anathema among many Christians. They talk about how shame destroys our souls, breeds lies in our minds, and gets our hearts caught up in a shame cycle. I’ve heard one pastor say, “There is no place for shame in the kingdom of God.”** I think a lot of people try to deal with shame by condemning shame (ironically often feeling ashamed about being ashamed) or ignoring and covering up the shame they feel. Maybe the best way to deal with shame isn’t to ignore it or say it doesn’t belong, but to concede this: sin is shameful.

A line I’ve used with some frequency goes something like this, “Shame after sin is a wonderful place to be, and a terrible place to stay.” The more we understand the horrors of sin, the clearer we see the Love of the cross. If sin is shameful, then when we sin we should feel ashamed. The shame is there, whether we condemn it, ignore it, hide it, or accept it. It’s best to deal with what is, rather than pretend it isn’t. If the shame is there, then be ashamed. Blush when you do something which deserves blushing. Feel guilty about your guilt. Allow the weight of your sin to be on your shoulders. See the heinousness of your actions.

And then… let Love take them from you. Turn from shame, toward the one who will restore You, and walk. He took all the shame, all the guilt, all the heinousness, and all the weight of your sin. All those shameful things you did to Him, He absorbed. He deigned Himself to be shamed by us, took everything we could throw at him, and killed our sin. He destroyed the cause of our shame. Nothing is left to cause us shame. You and I, we are free.

*Many more.

**In one sense, this is completely true. In another, it is completely false. Double incongruent absolutes!

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  1. November 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

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