Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The more we read these Psalms, the more interested I have become in looking at the author's notion of shame.  Often (31:1) the Psalmist will say, "Let me never be put to shame."  Or in 32:1, he talks about someone being happy who is forgiven (their shame is gone.)

Shame is still a motivating factor in the Middle East.  Women are put to death when they shame their family.  Sons are thrown out of the family for bringing shame. It is a constant fear. 
But I'm not so sure its as big of a deal in our society anymore.  We watched TV shows where people put themselves to shame on purpose.  Everyone has their price, and shame seems to be fairly cheap in our society.  So, we might be put to shame for the moment, but its fleeting.  Not something to get worked up about.  Not something deep or lasting. 

So, can we relate?  How do we relate to concepts in the Psalms that don't translate to our lives today?  How do we deal with the analogies that seem foreign?  If all scripture is God breathed and matters to our faith life--how do we take concepts that are tough to understand?

Pastor Emily

1 comment:

Mom said...

I have a little Today's English book of the Psalms and it uses the word defeated where the NIV says shame in these verses. I think we all understand defeated, if not in sports, in any situation where things turn out differently than we had planned. The word shame puts more blame on a person than the word defeated does to me. I grew up in a time when not everything was ok and there were things that could cause shame. In the time of the ancient Israelites being defeated in a battle was a shameful thing and that is the image the Psalmist is looking for.
Something shameful is like being defeated; nothing you do can turn it around and make it better. So we need God to take our shame (sin) to turn us back to Him! And then we thank and praise Him for protecting us with his constant love. (And I will try hard not to be the mule who needs the bit and bridle to obey. That would be shameful!)