A Sense of Shame

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Jeremiah 6:10-17


I.         On June 18, 2008, Time released a story about 17, now 18, girls in Gloucester High School on the outskirts of Massachusetts.

            A.        (Read the story)

            B.        What would cause a bunch of girls to purposely set out to get pregnant?

            C.        The report gave these reasons:

                        1.         It’s not real. It’s just a fluke that all these girls just happened to get pregnant at the same time.

                                    a.         (Normally there are four pregnancies each year in this high school.)

                        2.         Recent movies have glamorized being an unwed mother, and these girls are imitating them.

                        3.         The religious culture in the neighborhood is preventing access to birth control.

                                    a.         A person has to go 20 miles to get free contraceptives.

                                    b.         Free contraceptives aren’t offered in this school

                        4.         They are from poor families.

                        5.         They’re looking for unconditional love

                        6.         The school does such a good job supporting unwed mothers that there is no social consequences to becoming pregnant

                                    a.         Free on-site daycare

                                    b.         Advertised at the freshmen level sex education courses

            D.        Another news story said that these girls lacked self-esteem and love in their lives.

                        1.         They were just wanting and needing affection

                        2.         There was also a question whether anyone would go after the guys as all the girls are under 16, the age of consent.

            E.        But a third one, I believe, came the closest to facing the truth

                        1.         (Read the story)

                        2.         We lost a sense of shame

                        3.         Kids are being taught by peers, schools, movies, and other forms of culture that it is acceptable to get pregnant at a young age

                        4.         Broken homes are not able to instill values. Too little parental involvement in children’s lives results in popular culture raising children.

II.        What happened to shame?

            A.        Because of stubbornness, people prefer to act shamefully - Hosea 4:16-18

            B.        They refuse to be ashamed of their actions - Jeremiah 3:1-3

            C.        They’ve done it for so long, they have forgotten how to blush - Jeremiah 6:15

            D.        They have been deceived. They constantly return to sin. They don’t repent. They think they are smart. They are greedy - Jeremiah 8:5-13

III.       Shame has a purpose

            A.        A part of knowing good and evil is shame - Genesis 3:10

            B.        You can’t forget that you’ve done wrong - Psalm 51:3

            C.        God uses shame as a wake-up call - Psalm 44:13-15

            D.        Shame ought to keep us away from sin. It ought to remind us that we are vulnerable to Satan’s schemes - Jeremiah 3:25

IV.      Even when it is denied, the fact remains that sin is shameful. But why don’t people feel ashamed?

            A.        The problem is that repeated sin can make us calloused - I Timothy 4:1-2

            B.        Self-serving lusts - Jude 12-13

            C.        Worldly minded, glorying in their shame - Philippians 3:18-19

            D.        The unjust know no shame - Zephaniah 3:5

            E.        Pride brings shame because the prideful cannot believe they are wrong - Proverbs 11:2

            F.        Shame comes to those who cannot be corrected - Proverbs 13:18

            G.        For that reason, undisciplined children act shamefully - Proverbs 29:15

V.        Our desire should be to avoid shame

            A.        Not because we do not recognize shameful situations

            B.        The solution is to walk the old paths - Jeremiah 6:15-16

            C.        Then we will be without shame because we are not doing anything shameful - Psalm 71:1-8

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