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And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson



Are You Exposing Shame or Covering Blame?

Kolleen Lucariello encourages women to live in freedom and grace, shedding harmful and false thinking and behavior. In this Attitude and Relationships UPGRADE, she invites us to examine a sinful practice: shaming others.

“Early one Saturday morning,” Kolleen said, “my hubby, Pat and I sat on the sidelines of a soccer field spectating our four-year-old grandson’s game; we also, inadvertently, became spectators to a heated exchange between a father and his daughter.”

Having attended many sports events, I (Dawn) know the “heated” conversations that can arise when people get caught up in the emotions of the moment, but Kolleen writes about an attitude that isn’t limited to athletic events!

Kolleen continues…

This wasn’t a father and his toddler, nor was it his teenage daughter. This was a father and his adult daughter.

The tension arose after the father suggested his daughter put a hat on the baby to prevent sun exposure. One comment, a few sarcastic jabs, and suddenly words of accusation were flowing freely from the daughter’s mouth as she began to list, in detail, all that she could remember of his own parenting failures.

As resentment seethed from her lips, my eyes scanned each family member who sat on the blanket: his wife—her mother—who sat head hung in silence; and the angry daughter’s sibling who nervously tried to end the outburst. The young children who quietly played but every few minutes stopped to watch. And listen. And then the father whose daughter was now broadcasting his past transgressions at a community event; a daughter I surmised was in desperate need of healing.

I tried not to stare.

But catching a glimpse of each person’s face, I prayed for each one. Eventually, words ceased and my attention turned back to the soccer game. But one question consumed my thoughts:

Does anyone deserve to be humiliated and publicly shamed?

I knew the answer.

You upgrade your life when you:

1. Use restraint! Learn to pause and pray before you vent-away.

In the days following—as I continued to marvel at the daughter’s freedom of expression—I observed similar non-verbal outbursts. We seem to allow ourselves the freedom to vent everything to the public, quickly and unguarded, through social media.

Heat-of-the-moment emotions can lead us to forget what Jesus said: “If a brother sins against you, go to him PRIVATELY and confront him with his fault” (Matthew 18:15, TLB).

Privately just seems difficult these days, don’t you think?

A wounded heart tempts us to justify our right to express ourselves without restraint.

Without taking a moment to pause, we allow our fingertips freedom on a keyboard to share intimate details with little thought of the impact to others.

We must learn to pause! It’s easy to sit behind a faceless computer and vent; but at the field that day, I saw the faces.

2. Remember people aren’t pawns. Don’t help the crowd gather stones.

I imagine there was nothing to hide behind for the woman who was yanked from the bed, hauled through the streets and thrown into the Temple after being caught “in the very act of adultery” and forced to “stand in the center of the court” (John 8:4).

I’ve often wondered if the Scribes and Pharisees allowed her to grab a covering. Was it only her sin and shame exposed? Do you think they did? After all, their mission was to relieve the pressure Jesus put on them by finding grounds to accuse Him (vs.6). She was just a pawn in their test.

Can we learn to fight the urge to release our pressure by accusing others publicly? People were never meant to be pawns.

Can you visualize her standing alone—in fear and shame—as a crowd gathered, stones in hand? That is, until Jesus knelt down in the sand and said, “He who is without [any] sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (8:7, AMP).

Do you suppose we are exposing others to the stones of the crowd when we uncover their deeds to the public?

3. Choose to cover blame rather than exposing shame.

Maybe Peter had her story in mind when he wrote, “Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others]” (1 Peter 4:1, AMP).

When others exposed her, Jesus used love to cover her.

May we choose to extend the same mercy Jesus offered the shame-filled adulteress when our feelings tempt us to expose.

Remember: there is no law against self-control (Galatians 5:23).

Who can you cover today with love?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. For more information about Kolleen, visit her website.

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