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Ecclesiasticus 4:20-21 Watch for the opportune time, and beware of evil, and do not be ashamed to be yourself. For there is a shame that leads to sin, and there is a shame that is glory and favor.
Knowing his young listeners may be so challenged and distressed by their struggle to adhere to the laws and customs laid out in Torah that they might abandon their efforts toward holiness for the easier lives of their Hellenic peers, Ben Sira gives more nuance to that most uncomfortable word—shame. While sin may be the result of shameful behavior, for those who are faithful to the covenant with God, shame can be transfigured into true glory, in accordance with God’s standards.
MOVING FORWARD: Shame is a difficult emotion for us to engage. Too much shame is as damaging as no shame at all. How do forgiveness and love buffer shame?