Embarrassed For All The Wrong Reasons


It’s human nature to not say everything that’s on your mind at the time you think it. Because we fear saying something that people will laugh at, people will think is dumb. We’re afraid of being embarrassed.

Taylor Swift

Do you fear embarrassment?

When I was very young – probably less than two years old, my parents caught me eating a box of raisins in the garage before church one Sunday morning.  On the way into the church parking lot, the raisins decided to make themselves known, and I had an explosion of epic proportions in the backseat of my parents car.  I don’t have any memories of this event in my life, but my parents have repeatedly explained to me that I was embarrassed when they brought me to the church nursery without any clothes.  Apparently, the explosion “destroyed” my clothing forcing me to attend church this particular morning wearing only a “fancy” cloth diaper.

When I was a little older, I wore Toughskins to school.  For those who don’t know, Toughskins were a denim-like pants produced by Sears.  They came in all sorts of colors:  blue, green, red, and brown.  At first it wasn’t a big deal.  After all, many other kids were wearing Toughskins.  But then something changed.  All the cool kids switched to Wrangler blue jeans.  Suddenly, the Toughskins weren’t so cool.  I’m pretty sure I felt embarrassment wearing my Toughskins those last few times.

When I was in college, my parents came to visit with my youngest brother one weekend.  For church, we went to East Main Presbyterian Church where many of my college classmates attended in their Sunday best.  I wanted to make the best impression on my classmates, so I was embarrassed when my little brother decided to crawl under the pews in the middle of the service.  I remember giving my Dad “the eye” as I asked him to take care of the situation.  While my Dad was escorting my brother out of the sanctuary, my brother pitched a fit proclaiming “You’re hurting me!” to the quiet congregation.  My cheeks turned red as I slumped down into my pew.

Looking back, I have allowed many of my perspectives on life to be blurred by those around me.  I want to fit in.  I want to stand out for the right reasons.  And I certainly don’t want to stick out for the wrong reasons.  The problem is I often get these reasons mixed up.

My guess is that I’m not alone.  We all get our priorities and perspectives wrong from time to time.  We get embarrassed by the things that should make us proud.

I’m thankful for my parents’ consistency at church even when they had to carry me into church half-naked.  I’m thankful for God’s provision through my parents (those Toughskins were actually very tough).  And I’m thankful for my brother who I care about far more than those sitting around me in church that Sunday.

There have been times when I have been embarrassed to call myself a Christian.  Sometimes this embarrassment comes from the “stupid” actions of others who call themselves Christians.  And some times this embarrassment comes from a fear of not fitting in with the world around me.  I want to wear my faith on my sleeve for everyone to see.  I want to represent the gospel well to those around me.  I don’t want to me ashamed to call myself a Christian.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

Romans 1:16

I shouldn’t be embarrassed to be a follower of Christ.  But I should be embarrassed by my lack of follow through on what the gospel says.  I should be embarrassed by the improper use of the gospel to defend positions and actions that don’t represent the love of Christ.

I don’t want to be embarrassed for the wrong reasons.  How about you?

Have you ever been embarrassed?  Tell us about it in the comments.