Does Shame Work?

A devotional by Reverend Dr. Kevin Schwamb

India’s local government has found a creative way to get delinquent tax payers to suddenly pay their bills.  They will show up unexpectedly at the taxpayer’s residence with a drum band, begin playing loudly to attract the attention of neighbors, and then announce how much the taxpayer owes the government.  The result has been an increase in revenue as people are more fearful of getting a tarnished reputation than having less in their wallets.
Shame, in and of itself, is not portrayed as the sole mark of genuine repentance in the Bible.  In 2 Corinthians 7:10 we read “…godly sorrow produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”  Paul is reminding believers that true conviction of sin is accompanied by sorrow, but it doesn’t end there.  True repentance is a change in direction.  It requires a turning away from sin and a turning toward God.  This is what Paul means by godly sorrow which will manifest itself by an observable transformation.
What is your response to sin in your life and in the lives of others?  Shame by itself will prove to be short-lived and lead to greater despair and a false assurance.  Responding to sin other than God’s prescribed way, never pays!