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30 Responses

  1. dswoager says:

    Just thinking of loud, but I would wonder if part of our cultures stance toward shame has been an overreaction to the weaponizing of shame in the past.

    For example, your cat didn’t need for you to make it feel shame, it was a natural reaction to poor behavior. You also recognized that she knew that she had done something wrong and restored her.

    Shame in many cases has been used to break people, and keep them broken. Shame when wielded as a weapon against others can reduce them to a weak willed shell of a person.

    I don’t think that we want either of those outcomes. The answer, as usual, lies somewhere other than at the extremes. It probably looks a lot like you and your cat.

  2. Michael says:


    Excellent observation…well said.

  3. Pauge says:

    Wow. Amen.

  4. Judy says:

    Michael: I find it hard to remember most days that I am flesh and bones and that my reactions often do not come from the spirit but from my unregenerate parts. But it is comforting to know that as time goes by, there are fewer of these parts to myself and fewer instances of having to return to the Father and repent of my poor behavior. I believe in sanctification, although we don’t hear much about it anymore, and I believe that once God has sanctified a part of us, an attitude, a behavior (or whatever) we are free from reacting in the flesh and that part of us is truly holy. I also believe that in Christ we are holy and seen as righteous by God. But when I look at people like David, it’s good to know that they were just people who sometimes screwed up like we did. I guess my point is, don’t be so hard on yourself.

  5. Cash says:

    I think there is a distinction to be made between good, healthy shame, which is what you’re talking about in your article, and unhealthy shame. Unhealthy shame, which can be pathological in nature is when we allow ourselves to be defined by a weakness or something we have no control over. Some people have too much shame. They are so ashamed that instead of running to God, they run away from Him, believing they are just too dysfunctional for God to accept them.

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, Judy.

    I’ve found that if I’m hard on myself when need be, it saves God the trouble… 🙂

  7. SJ says:

    Maybe you found out how she became a stray in the first place. Neurotic kitty.

  8. Michael says:


    Excellent…well said, my friend.

  9. Michael says:


    We’re all neurotic kittys some days…

  10. Xenia says:

    Miss Kitty must have a conscience. Mr. Noodles doesn’t have a conscience and had never felt a minute’s worth of shame, unlike Lilly the Chihuahua who is a very pious little dog.

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    Chocolate, my pig, may be a sociopath.

  12. Michael says:

    I don’t know if it’s that she has a conscious or is interested in self preservation. 🙂

    She doesn’t seem to like anyone but me, so she needs to keep me.

  13. filbertz says:

    I did a bad thing is not the same as I am a bad person. Inappropriate shame focuses on who I am, not what I did. It generalizes a mistake into worthlessness.

  14. Michael says:

    Miss Kitty sleeps with me on my bed…maybe if you moved Chocolate indoors…

  15. Michael says:


    That is gold…

  16. Josh the Baptist says:

    Chocolate is destructive, devious…and probably smarter than me. If I let him in, he will probably lock me out.

    Fil – You make a good point.

    I am tempted to go all proof text and post a “He took our shame” verse, but I understand the point of this post, and I agree.

  17. Michael says:

    Healthy shame is no more or less than the conviction of the Spirit.
    We need it and we should respond as Miss Kitty did.
    She ended up with treats for her piety… so do we. 🙂

  18. Xenia says:

    Once Mr. Noodles tied me to a chair and then booby-trapped the door so after I escaped from the chair I would fall flat on my face.

  19. Michael says:


    You may need to call a cat therapist… 🙂

  20. Xenia says:

    I love that crazy cat. 🙂

  21. Cash says:

    Great comment, Fil! #13

  22. Michael says:

    That’s a happy cat…good job, Xenia!

  23. Pastor Al says:

    Just sayin’ LOL

    “Your cat may be trying to kill you, study says”….

  24. Em says:

    this is a wonderful post and some pretty good comments follow… especially: “I did a bad thing is not the same as I am a bad person. Inappropriate shame focuses on who I am, not what I did. It generalizes a mistake into worthlessness.”

    in Miss Kitty’s defense, she may have been zoned out and had an attack of cat crazies… my daughter’s old cat will have attacks where he wakes up, rips around the house like a banshee, tearing into everything he passes and then goes to one of his favorite spots to continue his nap – i think Miss Kitty ran out of there thinking, “oh what have I done? what have I done?” bad cat, bad, bad cat … 🙂

  25. Michael says:

    This has been an excellent thread…proud of it.

  26. Em says:

    hold onto that thought, Michael

  27. Michael says:


    When we get the kind of thoughtful reflection we have today it makes everything else worth it.
    Some folks have read these comments and are being blessed…and that’s the name of the game.

  28. Erunner says:

    Thank you Michael for speaking into my life once again.

    Cash, your #5 is gold.

    I have a lot of trouble expressing myself at times. As I read through these comments others do it for me. That’s the beauty of this place Michael.

  29. Michael says:


    Thank you.
    The commenters did us all proud on this one.

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