Download PDF

Shame?  It very often seems that way.  I’ve noticed this recently in several ways.

The first is in relationships we have with other adults,  most of which we’ve known for a long time.  You see, when you are a parent of a child with cancer, people most often treat you differently.  The main reason is that, well, you ARE different.  All of your kids are not healthy.  So, that’s to be expected.  Some people just can’t handle the emotion of dealing with the parent of a child who has cancer.  Perhaps they fear bad things happening to their kids.  Perhaps they have had a loved one who had (or has) cancer and it’s all too real for them.  Others yet just feel too bad for us, for Trey, and can’t face it.  Whatever the case, they grow to a safe distance and stay there.  I’m sure that anytime that they hear about us or even think about us, a certain level of guilt or shame sets in.  They feel like they should reach out to us yet they don’t.  More shame, more guilt.

The second way I’ve noticed this lately is with parenting in general but specifically during holiday season.  Through social media and conversations you see what everyone else is doing with and for their family and feel like you should do more.  It could be in creating family traditions, amounts of presents, amounts spent on presents, special vacations, service projects, whatever.  You compare yourself (as one parent group) and compare it to all of the others and end up feeling like a bad parent.  You feel guilty, ashamed.

The third is our relationship with God.  It’s a “God” time of year for a lot…most people.  Even for those who have no existing relationship with God the thought tends to come to mind this time of year.  We tend to revisit and/or take inventory of our relationship with God and give ourselves a “spiritual scoreboard” as to how we are doing.  I haven’t met too many people who think that they are ahead…or even in the game (whatever that means).  Then, you think about God and how He must be “disappointed” in you and shame sets in.

I could spend some time talking about this some more but it turns out I’ve already done this.  I came across this post from just over 2 years ago.  Trey had gone through his surgery (where he had come very close to dying) a  few months earlier, he was at this point back in the hospital with a collapsed lung, waiting to be cleared to go back home.

Jay Mitlo

Shame on you! – As this weekend progressed and the angst and frustration ensued I took a moment to reflect and something hit me. The thought occurred to me, “One month ago I/we would have given just about anything to have a “boring” day in the hospital with Trey (he was still out of it in the ICU at the time, post surgery).” So, did that make us feel better? Did that help us snap out of it? Did that make the fact that we were told we could go home and yet find ourselves in there for the next few days more palatable? No. Sadly (perhaps) not at all. What it did make me feel just a bit was shame. God had answered my prayers and here I was upset that I couldn’t help Rachel. God had brought Trey back and yet I was complaining. SHAME ON ME!!! Yet, take a look at scripture. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, what did satan cause them to feel? Shame and condemnation. It was the #2 tool of the devil (#1 being deception). Conversely, when Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus finally got some alone time with him on the beach for breakfast did he shame him? No. When all of the disciples deserted Him and he appeared to them in the upper room did he condemn them for their actions? Were His first words, “shame on you!”? No. In fact, His words were, “Peace, be with you.” So, the truth is, perspective (as I have mentioned here before) is overrated. Yes, I wanted my son back one month ago. Yet, I wanted him home now and wanted my wife to be comfortable and not upset. What about Jesus? Where was He in all of this? Well, I believe (besides perhaps keeping us in the hospital for some reason I suppose) He was right there with us, comforting us, loving us, telling us, “Peace (His peace…Himself) be with you.” As you go through the day, be very careful and watch for feelings of shame and self condemnation that creep into your heart. They are not from Him but from the one who wants to keep you from the God of all creation who tells you “Peace”. Rather, simply talk with Him and tell Him how you feel. Ask Him if He ever felt that way and to show you in His Word when that was. Ask Him how He feels for you right now. You’ll find it to be more intimate than you would ever imagine. If you let that condemnation in, well, then SHAME ON… no, just sit at His feet and listen.

 These were  my words from September 19th, 2011.  They apply today.  God knows that you aren’t perfect.  God knows that you love your kids and are doing a good job.  God knows (and so do we) that you care about us and aren’t openly “shunning” us or looking at us as with some sort of derision.  No, there is to be no shame, especially this time of year.  It’s a time of year for celebration, for family, for friendship…for relationships.  Jesus, being God, yet coming to earth as a human is the greatest example of humility and grace that one can imagine.  There is no shame in that.  Don’t let shame in, it’s just not the season for that.

Share This