Shame Nation (book review)

After reading Curt Thompson’s The Soul of Shame, I determined to find other books on the topic of shame. I found several and chose to read Shame Nation by Sue Scheff next. What I thought I was going to learn and what I ended up learning were not the same, to my advantage.

The title implied one thing in my mind. By the time I got into chapter two, I realized Scheff’s focus was on the epidemic of online hate. Through the first five chapters of section one “The Rise of Shame Nation,” Scheff gives great detail to exemplify exactly what’s at stake when it comes to digital shame. Some of it I knew, but I quickly learned I didn’t know enough. That section alone is worth the read. In the following three chapters of section two “Preventing and Surviving an Onslaught,” Scheff gives all of us much needed wisdom that could curb disasters and literally saves lives.

Your online behavior should be the best reflection of who you are off-line, but so many of us don’t live up to that ideal.

Chapter 3, I Can’t Believe They Posted That!

But what I found most helpful was the final section, “Beyond the Shaming.” Scheff gives several illustrations of people who’ve taken their online shaming experience and turned in into purpose, action, and healing for themselves, their community, and beyond. An amazing resource listing at the end of the book contains 40 examples, the majority I had never heard of. The ones that stood out to me include…

The results of online shame and hate hit home in April in our area when a 12-year-old died by suicide due to cyberbullying. After leading a response to a request to equip parents against bullying of their students, I’m convinced we cannot talk about this epidemic enough. Scheff has given parents, educators, counselors, and community leaders more than enough knowledge to respond to and change their community from one of shame and hate to one of kindness and compassion. I encourage you to add this book to your library.


Yesterday’s Manna

“Yesterday’s manna is no good for today.”

Read this quote recently from a pastor. His spin on this Old Testament fact is memorable. It’s also a practical guide.

10 Illustrations:

Yesterday’s sleep is no good for today. Do your best to have consistent sleep.

Yesterday’s calories are no good for today. Manage your eating habits well daily.

Yesterday’s exercise is no good for today. Commit to an ongoing exercise routine.

Yesterday’s fun is no good for today. Laugh every day.

Yesterday’s reading is no good for today. Always have reading material with you.

Yesterday’s affection is no good for today. Those closest to you thrive off your expressions of love.

Yesterday’s prayer is no good for today. Connection with God depends on frequent communion.

Yesterday’s kindness is no good for today. Share kindness every opportunity you can.

Yesterday’s confession is no good for today. The daily screwups are best handled with immediate acknowledgments.

Yesterday’s work is no good for today. Our community thrives as we each provide our daily contribution.

As you meditate on yesterday’s things, what else would be helpful to state is no good for today?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

8 Ways to be Kinder

Recently I received a card that included an article cut out of The Wall Street Journal. The columnist wrote about the effects of kindness to our brains, particularly if we are the giver. She referenced Jamil Zaki’s book The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World. Beside the article was a list of kindness suggestions, particularly needed in our current climate. Check it out below.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #19-Money Sense

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding finds success…Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and He will give a reward to the lender. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭19‬:‭8‬,17 HCSB)

Success is grounded in common sense and pursuing understanding.

According to verse 17, success in handling money is grounded in the common sense that the poor will always be with us, and in the understanding that our money isn’t really ours but God’s and that sharing our resources with the poor isn’t unnoticed by him. 

We give to the poor not in order to receive a reward but in order to practice good money sense and to follow the desires of the true owner of everything.

Fruity Fridays: Kindness Results

(A series on the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

I was driving down 26th St. W. in morning traffic. A car pulled out into traffic. A garbage bag fell off the top of the car and rested in the opposite lane of oncoming traffic. What to do? Was it garbage or might it have something valuable in it? The driver didn’t seem to notice they lost the bag. What to do?

I could have said, “Not my problem. Besides, there are plenty of other drivers who could deal with this. I have an appointment.”

I decided to ask God what to do. More specifically, I asked him to have the driver give me some kind of indication that I could tell them and still get to my appointment on time. Within two blocks of my turning off 26th, the driver turned on their blinker to turn into a business. I said, “Thanks for the sign,” and followed.

Before the driver opened the car door, I was at the window. She rolled down the window, and I said, “I was behind you when you pulled into traffic, and it looked like a garbage bag fell off the top of your car. I wanted to let you know in case it had something valuable in it.”

She was embarrassed. “I didn’t even notice. It was my garbage. I forgot to put it in the dumpster. Thank you so much.”

I got back in my car and headed to my appointment. I don’t know if she did anything about her garbage. I do know that I resisted the flesh and followed the Spirit to show kindness to a stranger. I don’t always choose kindness, but when I do it results in…

  • …thinking less of myself and more about others
  • …resisting the initial thought that is all about me
  • …listening to that small voice that gives me a kind idea
  • …choosing that temporary inconvenience
  • …showing someone their blindspot
  • …helping someone with their garbage

Fruity Fridays: Complicated Kindness

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

post by Eric Vorhies 

Kindness is something I struggle with.

I am not saying that I am inherently mean. It’s just that I have a very matter of fact way of dealing with people. I chalk it up to being a task-oriented person. 

I like tasks. They are simple. They generally have a beginning and an ending…They can be completed.

People and their feelings are not so nice and easy. They are complicated. And sometimes, we, ourselves, don’t even know why we feel one way or choose to do a certain thing. How do two people, who are uncertain about how things should be done or even how they feel about it, come together on common ground? In a world where people are hurt because someone didn’t like their Instagram post, I am lost on how to validate some people’s thoughts, opinions, actions, and feelings…but…then there is kindness.

The power of kindness is that it bridges my humanity to that of another person. 

The only way I know this is by trying to look at the Bible through the lens of modern times. If Jesus were walking with us today as he did back then, Jesus would be at the bar hanging out with drunks, hookers, and IRS agents. He wouldn’t be doing anything wrong, but we would still wonder why he was there when he could be hanging out with us. He would also make time in his busy schedule to stop and hang out with kids and to visit people at the hospital. The more I think about it the more I realize that kindness bridges two people that are different. 

It is easy to see and accept us and them — Christians and non-Christians, Americans and everyone else, Republican and Democrats. But kindness gives us the opportunity to see more than that…to see people as…you know, people. That’s what Jesus was doing his entire ministry. He marginalized the difference between His divinity and our sinfulness by being kind. 

I will never say it is easy. Remember, I am a task-oriented person. But when I catch myself missing a moment to show kindness, I try to imitate Christ by loving first and in truth and action. Because despite any apparent differences, I am just like every other person — a human in need of the Gospel — and by showing kindness, I can show others who Christ is.

Fruity Fridays: The Dirty Road

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

by Jeremy Nixon

An elderly man, almost empty on life, walked up and said, “Excuse me, sir.” 

At this point most people would dash for the car and duck into their comfy lifestyle of “I’m better than that person. I sure wouldn’t be caught talking to him!” The young man, though, without hesitation said, “Hey, how are you?” 

The feeble old man, with one eye wired shut, said, “I was wondering if you could feed me?” He ducked his head. You could see the disappointment and sadness that had overcome him, and he couldn’t believe that he was actually having to do this. Tears ran out of his left eye.

Let’s face it. We drive by people like this all the time. What do you honestly think when you drive past someone like this? Do you see Christ in them, or do you just pass by and be happy with yourself and what you think you’ve accomplished in life? In Colossians 3:12, Paul says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, KINDNESS, humility, gentleness and patience.” When confronted with situations like this…do you show kindness or do you just ignore them? You see, when you set your eyes on the kingdom, God changes how you live on this earth. And I’ll be honest, this hits home and has me trying to figure out what my eyes are fixed on. Your love for God pushes you to love others, and when you do this you “clothe” yourself in kindness.  

Back to the story.

“Where do you want to eat?” asked the young man. He had just finished eating. 

The older gentleman said, “White Castle.”

“White Castle it is!” the young man shouted. They walked across a busy intersection, dodging cars…all the while people staring and poking fun. The two men talked, and they ordered food…a lot of food for the older gentleman. They talked more, then the older man was on his way, the young man was on his way.

Before you believe, you see kindness…you see love. Luke 19:10 says, “Christ came to seek and save those who are lost.” That’s it. Period. We are to be like Christ in everything; every aspect of our lives is supposed to look like Him and point to Him. Luke 19:10 was Christ’s mission; in turn it’s the least we can do, right? Seek and save the lost. In easier terms, share the love of Christ. How do we do that? Show the kindness that God has placed in our life. Our lives change as we grow in Christ. Kindness is the product of this change. If we are going to love God and love people, then kindness has to be evident in our lives.  

Is it easy? This road less traveled? No. The road is dirty, sometimes you can hardly see it; it’s covered with leaves. Sometimes there is no help, and you can’t see the end. At times it’s down right disgusting, sleeping on the dirty ground with people driving by not paying any attention to you. And I believe this is where our love for Christ has to step in, and kindness is produced so others can meet Christ, possibly, for the first time. You never know who needs Jesus, and the person right in front of you may need to see Him through you. 

My prayer is this: God help me to respond to people and love people the way you would. Help me to be kind and show the kindness that my love for you produces.

By the way, the old man’s name is Delbert. He’s 59, been shot in the eye…and lived! He knows that God has a purpose for him; he’s not sure what it is, but he is keeping on. What will you do with the kindness that God calls us to live out?