Shame and sin in evangelism (Jeremiah 3:25)

"Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God." - Jeremiah 3:25

I wrote the other day about shame and guilt and I've been thinking about it since. In the shame based culture where I've been spending my time these days, we've had to really re-think the way we do evangelism. Now there are experts who know these things but I found it fascinating.

The thing is, in America we would read this verse and then think, "we have sinned." That is, we have done something wrong that needs to be made right. We will even share the gospel with people as "you have sinned, and the only person who can make things right is God Himself, you do want to be forgiven don't you? What you did was wrong!"

But in a shame based culture they would read this verse completely differently and think, "Oh my gosh, we sinned AGAINST the Lord! We have shamed God!" And then to apply it in evangelism a whole new approach must be taken, as this person would not care if what they had done was wrong, turning to Jesus would bring shame to their family. Therefore the approach of "You have shamed God, your creator, the only way you can bring back the honor he deserves is to turn to Him and He will choose to forget how you have wronged Him. What you did was shameful!"

Then people wake up, "Oh my gosh," they say, "I shamed God!" And then this becomes the vehicle by which they turn to the Lord.

Anyhow, I just found this fascinating. We read sin and think wrongdoing. They read sin and think dishonor.