(I wrote this prior to the verdict of the Casey Anthony Trial)
I have watched only brief moments of the Casey Anthony trial but, just as many of you have done, I have listened to analysis of it by “experts.” Now, I am not going to spend time or space giving my opinion and view of why I believe this woman is guilty. I am hoping our judicial system works all of that out correctly. I do not pretend that I know what is going on in Ms. Anthony’s heart - I can not and should not attempt to do so. However, I do want to comment on what I see on the outside that is noticeably missing.
What is missing, from all outward appearances, is what is missing in much of our society - including in the lives of many professing believers. It is a word that is not stated very often, and when it is, it is stated with negative connotations. It is the word SHAME. I know all about the grief experts and their opinions, but as a parent, looking back at their life after their daughter goes missing and seeing one big party would exhibit some form of shame. If you believe she is innocent, then you can probably explain that if she exhibited shame visually the jury would draw the wrong conclusion and, I have no idea what she does or how she grieves in her jail cell. If you were to say that, you would be correct - but when we see her in the pictures having a party, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any shame. But in truth, shame is the last thing any of us want to feel. We don’t want to feel it when we say something, act a certain way or do anything wrong. We may expect this out of Ms. Anthony, but in truth you see little to no shame anywhere today for anything - including in the church.
I believe much of the problem when it comes to shame today, is we have redefined the word. In the wonderful book by Ed Welch When People Are Big And God Is Small, Welch says: “Shame was originally viewed as the result of a problem between God and ourselves. Now it is reduced to whatever prevents us from feeling good about ourselves.” If our actions are sinful, or words are filled with venom, you will seldom see us ask for prayer or help of any kind. But you let me “feel” unhappy, or feel mistreated, that is when we begin to ask for prayer, help and counsel. We do not deny God, we just distort God. We believe that His purpose should be to make us happy - He is here for us, not us for Him. So Jehovah is not our God, He is our genie. As long as life is good – meaning we live and do what we want to, what we “feel” like - we are okay. But if I get caught in sin, or if I get upset about something and I no longer “feel good,” then something is wrong between me and God.
See our problem is not that we hate sin, but that we love self. Our passion and expectation in the world and in the church, is that I want to feel “good about me” or uplifted when I worship, rather than an overwhelming understanding of God’s holiness and my wickedness. Don’t make me feel bad - don’t preach, teach, or talk to me in a way that confronts sin. Give me good news about ME. The problem with many today is the same problem as with Casey Anthony, they may not be as crazy, or as cold or calloused, but the bottom line is still same: I want to live and enjoy me. Anything that gets in the way of that is seen as a problem.