Such a shame
Shamefully, I’m sure many will feel, I am going to write about having someone speak 'shame on you'.
We can do many things, as young people, that make our (seemingly) righteous friends, youth leaders or even church pastors look down on us, or even explain to us that we should really feel incredibly shameful about a certain sort of behaviour or thought.
When somebody speaks 'shame on you', we start to beat ourselves up - the feeling of shame sits with us. I think many will assume that what they are feeling is guilt, but actually, from where I sit and the people I talk to, it seems it is the feeling of shame that really tends to play with people. You see, guilt may be hard to deal with, but shame is incurable. The Oxford English dictionary defines shame as, 'a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. A loss of respect or esteem; dishonour.'
This painful feeling of humiliation or distress is often, in our Christian bubble, laid upon young people for all manner of things, from chilling with, kissing, touching, sleeping with, that guy or girl too much; through to lying once to get out of a boring church evening or screaming 'shit!' in the middle of your youth group’s quiz and chips evening. With just one look, with one word or a little sentence, they can cause you to crawl into your shell and feel absolutely awful.
Take a look at John 13:1-17. Jesus washes Peter's feet... "I am not worthy to have my feet washed by you, Lord."
Let me tell you about shame. People will speak things over us... always. We are not going to be able to walk through life without people speaking shame over you. So we need to be people who look first to the Lord. We need to seek his word above others' and discuss with him as to whether something is correct or not. Do not allow others' words to hold complete authority over you. There will be some people you decide to give great authority to: a mentor, a pastor, a youth worker, a parent. But they are still not our Lord Jesus. No one holds enough authority over you to turn you into a shrinking violet because of your behaviour.
Part of the beauty of this passage above is that Jesus simply says, 'you are dirty enough for me to get on my knees and be alongside you, and wash the rubbish off the dirtiest part of your body, Peter'. Our Lord is not a Lord who says, 'you are damned because of that kind of behaviour'. Our Lord is a Lord that says, 'right... let’s get cleaning!' He holds us up so high that we should never ever allow anyone to move us to a place of humiliation because of our behaviour.
Our behaviour, our thoughts, our words are often wrong - from the big to the small. But Christ stands in front of you, ties a towel around his waist and starts to kneel in front of your sinful dirty self and lathers on the soap.
We are clean, through Christ, and therefore those who make you feel ashamed, well, maybe they are pointing something out that needs sorting. We may well have things wrong in our lives that the Lord is convicting us of or asking us to sort out, but do not hide away and feel ashamed. Be bold and take it to your King, he will kneel in front of you, showing his majesty and wash you clean.