What I learned from Monika Lewinsky
By Merry Boehi
Shame: A feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you has done something wrong. Ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment. Dishonor or disgrace.
When you hear the name of Monika Lewinsky, what comes to your mind? Some of you will feel sorry for her because she got caught up in a relationship with a married man who just happened to be the President of the United States. Some of you will think she was foolish to get involved in the first place.
Regardless of what we feel about her we know that at the age of 22 her life was changed forever. In 1998 she lost her dignity and experienced public humiliation. Not only did she become the butt of jokes, but she also experienced much cyber bullying.
In a recent Ted talk, https://www.ted.com/talks/monica_lewinsky_the_price_of_shame Monika asked the audience how many of them to raise their hands when they have done something they regret when they were 22 years old. Monika is now standing up for those who are being shamed through social media and the devastation that is being caused in our culture. She wants to see a culture where we don’t feed the shame of a person but to help a person with empathy and compassion.
I think of two different biblical stories where a person entered into Jesus presence feeling shamed by their culture. The first one is in John 8:3-11, when the Pharisees took a “woman caught in adultery” before Jesus. They said the law commanded them to stone her to death, and they asked, “Now what do you say?”
Jesus told them “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he told the woman that He didn’t condemn her, that she should “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The second story is in Luke 7, which describes a woman who was “a sinner” and came to Jesus. She “began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
As I read both of these passages I see the humility of the two women and the shame they felt standing in front of a Holy God. They had felt the condemnation of their culture but from Jesus they only saw compassion and forgiveness.
As we look at our own lives, do we allow ourselves to get caught up in shaming others for their behavior by the comments we make on our social media sights. So we laugh at jokes others make about a person? We forget that these people need to know the love and forgiveness of the one who came to save them from the their of humiliation of shame.
Or are you like a Monika Lewinsky or the two women mentioned in Scripture? Are you feeling shamed for a behavior that you can’t seem to get over? I encourage you to go to Scripture and ask God to show you his love and forgiveness. And/ or go to a trusted mature Christian woman at your local church or contact us at [email protected]and we will be glad to meet with you.
Regardless of who you are and what you’ve done. we all need to recognize the sin patterns in our lives and go to God in complete repentance and receive his grace and forgiveness.