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The Necessary Shame of Being Named as Sinners

In his book, “The Great Work of the Gospel,” John Ensor writes:

When I was a teenager, I stole a hat. What is worse, I arrived at the store with a wad of cash in my pocket. Staring at the price tag, I thought, Hey, why should I spend my money on that hat? I can get it for nothing by pinching it, then save my money for something else.

As I headed for the door, the store manager stopped me. I [suddenly] wished I were dead. The manager saw I was not yet a hardened criminal and sent me home with instructions to have my parents call him back with the news or he would call the police. I went home to take my lumps. To this day, I remember what my 18-year-old sister said when she overheard me confessing: "How totally embarrassing. I've got a brother who's a thief!"

She called me a thief! …

[But] becoming ashamed of what we are as a result of what we do is a good thing and a necessary part of getting real about guilt. If you commit adultery, you are an adulterer. If you lie, you become a liar. I stole, and I had become a thief. It led me to my room weeping and ashamed of myself. But that was good! Painful, but good.

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