Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Reflection: v. 2 ‘do not let me be put to shame’
‘Do not let me be put to shame’ the ancient writer of this psalm asks of God. I find it reassuring and at times amusing how some things never change. Some things seem inherent to human nature–always relatable. I reflect on this phenomena often when reading the psalms, so full of the wide spectrum of relatable human emotions. How could someone living in such a different context and culture so long ago convey with these old ancient words the same feelings and emotions I experience, too? It must be that some things never change for human beings. As I read this psalm today, it is the prayer for acceptance and freedom from shame that strikes me as relevant. Still today, like all those many years ago, so many of us struggle to find acceptance and belonging. So many of us plead not to be put to shame. And yet many of us are shamed for things beyond our full control–our poverty, our mental health, our gender, our bodies, our upbringing, or our addictions. We are shamed for things for which there should not be shame attached, and in turn we too often shame one another, wielding our own hurts and disappointments like a jagged heavy sword. But like shame and fear and the plethora of other human emotions that inhabit us at different times, dignity is also something that is inherent to human beings. We must remember that we are lovingly and intentionally created in the image of God–perfectly suited just as we are. And in that image there is great dignity. We must internalize the voice of our loving creator and ignore all others that would shame us. And when that doesn’t work? When the voices around us would judge us and ridicule us for being who we were created to be? We, like the psalmist, can ask God to step in and remind us of who we are. We can ask God to remind us of our inherent dignity. And in our own honest self-respect, may we too participate in the godly work of not putting others to shame.
Prayer God, do not let me be put to shame, and do not let me shame my neighbor.