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The Bible speaks of being as being profoundly concerned with shame and honor. Jesus repeatedly warns against seeking glory from mere human beings, but rather to only seek glory which comes from God. In John, Jesus even defines true faith as being the opposite of seeking glory from human beings:

John 5:44 (ESV)

44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

The great promise of the Christian life is glory:

1 Peter 1:6–7 (ESV)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Even our gravest sorrows will be turned to glory:

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (ESV)

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

But we are also told that such thinking is outdated. Yes, in the ancient world and in some “traditional” societies shame and honor matter, but we moderns are not bound by such considerations.

It turns out, that as Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, the Bible is an up-to-date book, because this concern about shame and honor, the need for glory to cover up our nakedness, the weakness of us all runs the Internet.

Jon Ronson writes in the New York Times of the brutality of Internet shaming, of how the need to get glory from human beings matters more than all else — and that losing such honor will ruin ones life:

Still, in those early days, the collective fury felt righteous, powerful and effective. It felt as if hierarchies were being dismantled, as if justice were being democratized. As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive. I also began to marvel at the disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment. It almost felt as if shamings were now happening for their own sake, as if they were following a script.


It is a great article, which you would do well to read.

As a Christian with the responsibility to speak in public, I noted that this point will be my point, because there are positions which I do and must take. No matter how carefully I explain that I hold no malice toward anyone because of their ethics, it is considered a place beyond the pale to hold such positions. It is wrong and even criminal to hold that Christians are not permitted to do certain things. To call such things “sin” is hateful — which is surely strange because the people who take the greatest offense deny the existence of sin.

In the end it is honor and shame which drive our hearts.