Friday, March 25, 2011

Embarrassment as Deterrent

Many things have been used as a deterrent; corporal punishment, capital punishment, KP, running laps, guilt, shame... and the list goes one.

Yesterday, I witnessed a deterrent to a minor traffic infraction that is effective to keep my own driving habits in check.

As I take the kids to school each morning, a representative from the Wagoner Police Department has parked in a prominent position, in the middle of an 'over-flow' parking lot using a radar gun to enforce the 15 mph speed limit within the school property.  There is a half mile drive from the street to the student drop-off point and many parents are tempted to exceed the speed limit, because they are running late or whatever.

Getting pulled over can be embarrassing.

Yesterday, I was exiting the student drop-off lot and saw the officer slowing driving across the field to the access road.  I knew that someone had been caught.

Sure enough, he pulled in behind a car and "lit him up" inside the student drop-off lot.

As the steady stream of parents and students made their way to the drop-off lot, they all passed the parent who had been caught.

For me, the potential embarrassment of being pulled over with the police car lights flashing is enough to keep me from going any over the posted speed limit.

When I lived in Asia, there is a concept called "saving face."  Face is a very hard concept to define or translate, but it relates to self-esteem/social value/status/respect and is an emotional investment by oneself and others. It becomes a very emotional issue when someone has done something grievous or even perceived as grievous, then confronted by someone else.

While being pulled over by the police in front other parents doesn't necessarily constitute loosing face, that was the issue that came to mind as I saw the flashing lights.

The trouble is, today, many (too many) Americans have no shame and some even openly brag about things for which they should be ashamed, and are ashamed of things of which they should be proud. (or take a healthy view of)

Pride in something in which they should be ashamed.

Too many Christians are too embarrassed to share the good news of  Jesus Christ for fear of humiliation, ridicule, or rejection.  The Bible says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.." (Romans 10:11 ESV)  I don't think this means we won't experience humiliation, ridicule, or rejection, but instead it means that we won't stand ashamed before God.

Jesus certainly experienced these things as He hung nearly naked on the cross.  He said, "For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:29 ESV)

I go on to repeat the Apostle Paul, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16 ESV)

He endured shame because of our sin.
There are things I should be embarrassed about; my sin, my failure, my weaknesses.  But I will NOT be embarrassed about following Jesus!
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