Embarrass or Encourage

“When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you.” Ephesians 4:29 (ERV)

The Dictionary of Bible Themes1 defines embarrassment as “An uncomfortable feeling of guilt and humiliation, usually arising from sin or failure.” Embarrassment is something we do to ourselves or had done to us either in play or anger.

It is one thing to have it happen among our friends, they know us and love us but, Heaven forbid, if it happens in front of someone we are trying to impress for whatever reason, we are mortified wishing the ground would open and swallow us whole!

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, from Holy Land Moments, put it this way. “The Sages teach that embarrassing someone in public is akin to murder. That’s how seriously we take sensitivity to others. When someone is embarrassed, he or she loses self-respect and that’s almost as bad as losing a life. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important it is to be careful with the feelings of others. We might be “just joking around” or not thinking at all. But Scripture is telling us that we have to be cognizant of other people’s feelings all of the time.

Just as we cover our bread every Friday night for the Sabbath, we must also shield our brothers and sisters every single day. We must protect them from any shame or embarrassment, and instead clothe them with beautiful words of encouragement, praise, and love.”

Job 4:3-4 (MSG) “You, yourself, have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit. Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse.”

Think about it for a minute, the last time someone said something that embarrassed you. Didn’t it hit you like a knife in your heart?

For example, I took a friend and her son to see the movie “Mama Mia”. The reviews looked great and I loved the music. We were all looking forward to a great evening. Five minutes into the show I knew I had made a huge error and asked her if she wanted to leave. We were both embarrassed and hurt.

You see, the movie is about a girl who was getting married and wanted her dad to give her away. Problem was she didn’t know who he was. Just like my friend. Neither of us enjoyed the show but her young son was having a great time enjoying the music so we stayed. Now, I always pre-view shows before I recommend them to anyone.  I never want to hurt or embarrass anyone like that ever again.

The lesson here is to be careful what you say, always. We don’t know what someone’s life was like before we knew them. What may be funny to us may be hurtful to others and we would never know it.

1Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009.


About coalowl

My eyes are green, my hair is white and the rest changes without notice and frequently does! I've been a volunteer with the American Red Cross since 1972 and currently a MN State Certified Emergency Manager.
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