In our culture today, is public embarrassment the ultimate fear? What would you do to prevent the indignity of looking foolish in front of others? Is “saving face” one of the most important things for you?
Assaults, murders, and all sorts of atrocities have been committed by people trying to save face, escape humiliation, and side-step public shame. Oftentimes, if avoiding embarrassment fails, all energies are then aimed at damage control—excusing, denying, minimizing. Only then, and only if these great efforts fail, contrition. But contrition is the last possible measure, to be avoided at all possible costs.
It was relayed to me how a youth pastor asked this question of his teens:
“How many of you are willing to take a bullet for Jesus?”
If we are Christians, we would almost certainly say that we are willing to die for our Savior. Aren’t you? He then followed up with this question:
“How many of you are willing to look foolish for Jesus?”
For most of us, that’s a much more difficult proposal. But why? Is public embarrassment a greater price to pay than death? The answer to that is probably “yes.”
I believe that it’s this fear that keeps many of us from engaging people in the marketplace with the Gospel of Jesus.
And believe me, I’m in no way immune to this; I am as guilty as any of not taking advantage of opportunities to share Christ when I think it may lead to being rejected, humiliated, or shamed in public. What if I fumble my words? If it’s a friend, what if they reject me? What if the person I’m engaging hits me with an argument that I can’t answer? What if the conversation turns into a complete disaster for my side and I end up shaming Jesus? Maybe I’d better just pass this opportunity by and wait for the next one. Don’t you think? Certainly Jesus wouldn’t want me to fail when I’m trying to present the Gospel, would he?
A better question: Is the other person’s eternal soul worth my so-called dignity?