Does Shaming People Work?


I try to keep my “opinions” to myself…or at least keep them in environments I know are healthy or engaging and a two way street of dialogue. I rarely blog these days. I have too many businesses and jobs to chronicle life and one of these days I am going to finish that book….

But, I have been quite intrigued (read: disturbed) watching the world so quickly, instinctively, and with complete disregard attack a person for a moment in their life. We all have moments. I have some really fun ones that the world gets to see, I have others that I share with you guys on social media sites (like wearing my pants inside out yesterday), and I do actually try hard to be super honest and vulnerable with my world about the hard, messy seasons as well. Our life accumulates millions of moments in its span.

Not all moments are equal, that’s for freaking sure. Some moments are so devastating and traumatic, we and everyone around us can never go back or take it back. The college kiddo who raped a girl and served three months in jail – it’s unreal. That moment was defining and reflective of a lot of other cumulative moments in his life. HORRID. How is this even real life?? I cannot even comprehend this is our reality and the state of the world we live that we could devalue someone’s actions so much.

The football player making a statement and the world crucifying him because of it….that is not the same moment to me. I say that with complete respect for our military, because this blog has nothing to do with what he was standing for or not standing for. It has everything to do with a culture’s new instinct to shame someone and redefine their value because of a moment. We are like well trained hunting dogs waiting for a new person to justifiably take out. Every year I say I’m going to keep a media tracker of who we kill each week – cause every 7-10 days there is a new person up for some media crucifixion.

We’ve reached a new day in our behavior cycle though. It caught me off guard when everyone was sharing a young kids opinion without acknowledge his choice words and dialogue to get his point across this past week (example: you are the scum of the earth, a low life….and to think you would call yourself a…) Shall I continue? Are you getting the point? All I could think is WE HAVE DONE SOMETHING SO TERRIBLY WRONG. AAANNDDDDD you better hope you’re not ever in the spotlight…or those babies are gonna come for you, too!

Shame is so powerful. It’s so powerful and effective most of us unknowingly reach for it as our first defense in a fight. It’s a worthy weapon, if we’re honest. Shaming someone or aiming to control their feelings to replicate how they made you or someone else feel provides a demented sense of justification because we believe IF THEY JUST FEEL HOW THEY ARE MAKING ME FEEL THEN THEY WON’T EVER DO IT AGAIN? Who told us this was truth?

Not everyone has the capacity to feel what you feel and then be motivated to make different decisions. To let this be the foundation of how we discuss, correct, and guide is creating a generation of kids who cannot deal with confrontation – they are just trying to make you feel what they feel. They have no capacity to feel what YOU feel or to understand the other person could be very wrong….but also very hurting. Sometimes we have to let go of how someone or something makes US feel to help those next to us. We need to teach our people this by modeling it first.

  • Nurses have to forgo how a patient makes them feel to help them get well.
  • Parents have to disregard exhaustion to parent well.
  • Friends have to be inconvenienced to help those in their life who need it.
  • Our finances are inconvenienced to help those when they need it.

We can’t teach our kids the most important relational truth is that someone feels what we feel as though it’s going to alleviate our own feeling or bring resolution. It’s not about being right, but making things right. People over justification. Studies don’t show us that negative reinforcement pushes people to positive life changes, so why is it our first, justifiable weapon?

I’m not an expert in this area, but the last few years of sinking into the worlds of people who have accumulated a lot of BAD, devastating, and destructive moments has shown me to help, to love, to heal, and to comfort those in need we cannot be distracted by how we feel or are inconvenienced by their moments. We cannot shame them for ending up somewhere we don’t like as though it’ll reroute their future.

If you want to help and love someone, then you cannot aim to match your feelings. It’s not a prerequisite to moving forward.

When we make someones moment equal to their value, we lose our access to their heart. I can disagree with someone wholeheartedly without framing my opinion as they they are a worthless, piece of scum who has no value. If that’s all I have to stand upon, then I need to shut up.

It’s one thing to operate in such a way that you are harming others with no option for resolution and with a false sense of comfort that you taught them a lesson by devaluing them because they did something wrong. It is taken to a new level when we have now trained a new generation to do the same….except they have different tools and weapons to annihilate their people and us. They don’t just shame people but they put action behind it.

It’s not too late

Shaming someone and destroying their person and value for expressing something we disagree with rather than just disagreeing is harmful and creates mistrust and division. When is mistrust and division EVER the goal?

Shaming someone because their choices affect you, directly or indirectly, clouds our judgements because we take personal something that might not at all be personal. We lose sight that to be in someone’s life, in the broken parts and accumulate the bad moments, we have to be stronger and more resilient and fight for them with the weapons that help rather than harm their personhood.

Shaming people even for doing good things, but doing them not in the best way assumes the value of their input is measured by an outsider rather than by the impact it is making on the people they are trying to help. Why do we want to tell someone they are loving, serving or helping wrong?


While moments in life can change us, they cannot change our value as a person. They cannot dictate what our worth REALLY is, because the creation cannot tell itself what it is worth. The creator does that and has already done that. God not only told us and but has shown us.

Sometimes the hardest wrestle we have with shame starts with the shame we feel about our own person. The shame we carry unnecessarily. The shame we allow to control and dictate who and how we encounter the world. Shame isn’t ours to carry or live under and thank you Jesus – it’s not our punishment to bear.

How do you fight back in relationships, close and distant? Is shame your go to in confrontation? Is aiming to making someone feel badly about themselves the objective? Evaluate your immediate response and start doing some digging to see what your instinct is and what are we teaching the babies below us!

They deserve better. We deserve better. This is the only world we get!

2 thoughts on “Does Shaming People Work?

  1. Such a good read!! Your amazing and so talented Renee! God has greatness written all over your life!!

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