Missing: Shame, Guilt and Remorse
Signs of a Society That Can No Longer Blush
By Bruce A. Ritter
May 04, 2009
Africa, deep in the Third World: No one hears the screams of a nine-year-old girl suffering at the merciless hand of ragtag “soldiers.” The assault is violent—brutal—unthinkable—yet commonplace in a land without hope, a world in which the helpless suffer and the remorseless roam free.
Evening, the parking lot of an out-of-the-way restaurant infamous for adulterous rendezvous: Surrounded by floodlights and a television crew, a husband lunges at his wife and threatens to harm her as she cowers behind the host of a TV reality show. The host asks, “Why are you cheating on your wife?”
The husband feels no shame, no sense of guilt or remorse, only “righteous” indignation over being caught—and on camera. He blames his wife for not understanding the affair meant nothing to him. “You know I always come home to you.”
A nursing home where loved ones rarely visit: Caregivers taunt, slap, shake, push, punch, beat and spit on elderly residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
A prominent cable television news program: Horrified viewers watch CCTV footage of a car speeding away after it hits a jaywalking pedestrian. Onlookers on the street hesitate. Some call 911, others draw closer to gawk at the unconscious man; all wait before offering assistance.
From the Third World to First World “civilization,” people from all walks of life either commit vile acts without remorse or think only of themselves when others need help.
Teachers, convinced they have “fallen in love,” prey upon students for sexual encounters, stealing their innocence, in effect, sentencing young minds to a lifetime of mental and emotional anguish.
Teens and pre-teens see nothing wrong with “sexting”—sending risqué, even nude, digital images of themselves to their peers. They fail (perhaps refuse) to comprehend that, despite all efforts to push “delete,” anything sent electronically will exist in cyberspace for many years to come—and could lead to being charged with a crime.
A Wall Street con artist swindles family, “friends” and colleagues out of untold millions of dollars.
A paranoid and delusional dictator strikes fear in the international community as he test fires a costly, state-of-the-art weapon—the price of which could have fed millions of his starving citizens and prevented needless deaths.
In the 21st century—the age of instant communication, instant travel and instant pleasures—shame lies on its deathbed, remorse gasps its last breath, and personal guilt is fast-becoming extinct. It’s time to understand why.
The Victorian Era was a glorious time for the world-spanning British Empire. Yet it was also a period of extreme sexual prudery. The subject of sex was taboo, viewed as shameful, despite being a God-ordained blessing for husband and wife.
With the nightmarish horrors of World War I came the apathy of the disillusioned “Lost Generation,” the Roaring Twenties and the cynicism of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
The Great Depression and then the Second World War ushered in an era of harsh and desperate times, leading mankind teetering on the brink of destruction. Out of it, America emerged as a world superpower, with calls of patriotism and “doing your part.” Citizens, embracing the importance of the nuclear family, advocated conservative, middle class values.
But the 1950s, the decade of “country and family first—don’t question authority,” gave way to the 1960s, the decade of “question everything” and “don’t trust anyone over age 30,” along with political assassinations and the sexual revolution.
With the laidback, “go with the flow” 1970s came oil embargoes, high gas prices, high unemployment rates, the rise of two-income families, the abuse of government powers, and embarrassing U.S. losses in the Cold War.
The “Morning in America” 1980s brought a hollow morality, leading to the situation ethics of the tattooed, body-pierced, “hooking up” 1990s, and the polarizing of the secularism versus evangelical “righteousness” of the 21st century.
Each generation thought it knew better than the previous one. Things people felt shame and remorse over in the 1950s they questioned in the 60s, tolerated in the 70s, and embraced in the 1980s and beyond.
Foundation of Civilization
God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and gave them plain instructions: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).
Eating the fruit of the Tree of Life symbolized choosing to follow God’s will, allowing Him to determine how man should live. Eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented choosing to make decisions based on one’s own understanding.
Adam and Eve ate of the wrong tree.
When they heard God’s presence draw near, they hid from Him because they had decided to be ashamed for being naked. They did not wait for their Creator to tell them when or in what circumstances they should feel embarrassment.
And that was the problem: Instead of being humble, teachable, ready to let God instruct them in making successful decisions, Adam and Eve became their own judges. They decided for themselves that they should feel embarrassed for being naked.
Sadly, civilization was founded on man’s natural inclination to judge for himself how to live, how to make life decisions, how to direct his own steps.
No One Standard
Approximately one in every three people on Earth claim to worship the same God and hold sacred the same Bible—yet the world’s 2.1 billion professing Christians are divided among competing and disagreeing churches, denominations and sects. Catholics, Protestants, evangelicals—none walk together in absolute doctrinal agreement.
Others assert that the Bible is still in effect, yet they have added (unnecessarily) humanly devised traditions and manmade codes of conduct that have turned the Law of God into a heavy burden.
Many professing Christians claim God’s Law is “done away.” Notice a prophecy about today’s religious leaders: “Her priests [this world’s religious leaders] have violated My law, and have profaned My holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26).
If there is no Law, then sin does not exist, for “Whosoever commits sin transgresses [breaks, violates] also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). And if there is no sin, then there is no reason to feel remorse.
Ours is an age of changing moralities: Man conducts himself according to what “seems right in his own eyes.” Religions cannot agree to one standard of belief. Governments are the same, with politicians changing sides whenever the winds of public opinion change direction.
People feel shame and remorse for their actions when they believe in a standard of right and wrong. But in this modern world, standards deteriorate with every passing generation.
Humanity is fast approaching a time Jesus Christ warned would come, a period that would mirror Noah’s final days in the Pre-Flood World. People will—as they did prior to the Great Flood—continue daily life as though nothing is wrong (Luke 17:26), all while ignoring God’s warning, “until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”
Except for Noah and his family members, God took the life of every human being—but why?
Notice Genesis 6: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great [abundant] in the earth, and that every imagination [purpose] of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented [regretted] the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart” (vs. 5-6).
Jesus foretold the perverse spiritual conditions of the final days before His imminent Return to replace the governments of men with the kingdom of God: “And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax [grow] cold” (Matt. 24:12).
Genuine outgoing concern for others will “wax cold” because sin—hatred, malice, selfishness and insincerity—will abound!
Darker times are ahead—especially for the American and British peoples. Describing the United States, Britain and their sister nations of the West, the Bible states, “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one deals falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, says the Lord.
“Thus says the Lord, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jer. 6:15-16).
Read America and Britain in Prophecy, by David C. Pack, and discover why the peoples of these nations “were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.”