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  • Pastor Linda Settles

Surviving Shame


Shame on you! There was a time when that phrase made us stop in our tracks. We felt bad for doing something and we felt shame for doing it. You don’t hear that term so much today. What we hear is the term “cancel culture.” That occurs when you cancel someone out, dismiss them, because you didn’t like their words or actions.


But public shaming and silencing have been around for ages. Public executions, burning at the stake, lynching, these were ways to send a message to entire communities. Now it’s a hashtag. One little hashtag gone viral can end careers, relationships, and change a person’s life forever. Shaming the person.


There once was a group of Pharisees, who caught a woman in the act of adultery. I don’t want to imagine how that went down, but somehow, they were there. What we also know is that adultery involves two persons, but only one was grabbed. The woman.


Women have been treated as second class citizens since biblical times, with no voice, no agency. Shamed. Shame can be crippling. It can cause us to hide from people and from God. But this adulterous woman couldn’t hide. The Pharisees brought her straight to Jesus, and before all of those who were at the temple. But here’s the thing – the Pharisees really didn’t care about her so much. They just wanted to trip up Jesus. They wanted to see if He would follow the letter of the law which said that the woman should be stoned.


But right there in their midst was a scared, probably shaking, shamed, and no doubt ashamed woman. The Pharisees didn’t care about the woman’s state, but Jesus did. Jesus cares about those who experience shame. Shame makes you feel unworthy, but Jesus reconstructs the shame in this story, turning it from the woman to the Pharisees. Shame on who? Wow!


This Sunday we will continue in the sermon series: I’m a Survivor by talking about Surviving Shame. To register for worship, you can sign up at https://rsvp.church/r/gVufUAP4 . You can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.


Next Sunday, October 24, we will celebrate Children’s Sabbath! This is a time when we lift up children and raise our awareness of the trauma that impacts them. We will have a guest from LifeWise who will raise our awareness of how children are faring. It has been a rough time for our youngest saints, and we want to encourage them and the adults who love them. So bring the young ones in your life to worship (be sure to register them) and let’s celebrate children! And that afternoon bring the kids back for our Trunk or Treat event at 3:30. Fun, fun, fun! There’s a registration for that on our website.


Think Pink! Would you join me in closing out Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing pink on October 31? And as a 22-year survivor (praise God!) I encourage you to self-check, encourage someone else to get checked out, remember those we lost along the way, and celebrate survivors. Think Pink! (Oh, and if your little ones would like to wear their costumes to church instead of pink on Oct. 31, why not?)


May the Lord bless you and keep you!


Blessings,

Pastor Linda

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