Angelic Encouragement or Demonic Shame

Angelic Encouragement or Demonic Shame

angelic encouragement demonic shame cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

Description: A pastor prepares his sermon. An angel whispers into his right ear, "Encourage them! Sure it takes long but people heal as they become their best selves." A demon says in his left ear, "No! Shame them! You get immediate results because you appeal to their insecurity, guilt, fear, and their need to belong."


I hate shame.

Because shame requires a negative evaluation of the self to work. You have to believe and therefore feel like you're broken, unworthy, a sinner, and even evil for shame to take hold. Shame taps into your deep insecurity.

Which is why religion uses shame so routinely and successfully.

Shame loves original sin and total depravity.

(I can just hear all the what-about-isms now. Yes, narcissists know no shame and don't care about the feelings of others. And yes I agree that if shame will stop a politician from committing genocide then employ it. Etcetera. But I argue that this just proves the point that these people have deep personal work to do to be healed and become their best selves.)

My time in the ministry and even now proves to me over and over again that shame will get immediate results but this method and results actually impede personal healing. It is so acidic and destructive that the person becomes impervious to encouragement.

Shame blocks encouragement. 

But being encouraged blocks shame.

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