Bringing the Text to Life

Shame on You 1 Timothy 1:12-17

A sense of guilt and shame can sometimes be spiritually healthy.

Dogs are great at guilt. The moment you walk into the house, a dog will telegraph to you with its whole body the sin it has committed. The eyes squint and dart this way and that. The ears are flattened. The head is lowered. The tail trails. Pathetically ingratiating behavior usually accompanies all this - desperate little hand licks, half-hearted tail wags, general obeisance.

When you discover the actual crime - a mistake on the rug, a broken what-not, a chewed shoe - it only takes one phrase to crush your dog's faint optimism and fawning spirit. In a low, I'm-the-master-voice, you intone: "Shame on you! Oh, how could you? Shame!" Complete canine collapse ensues. Guilt overwhelms the creature. It throws itself on your mercy or slinks away in abject misery. This is probably one of the main reasons people like to have dogs as pets - it allows us to wield the power of punishment and forgiveness with such clear-cut, unambiguous results.

Unfortunately for God, human beings are not...

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