Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
It was 1987, and a singer named Bob Rivers published a humorous song for Christmas to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.” I remember vividly the first time I heard it on the radio; I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. It went like this:
“The restroom door said gentlemen, so I just walked inside, I took two steps and realized I’d been taken for a ride, I heard high voices, turned and found the place was occupied, by two nuns, three old ladies and a nurse, What could be worse? Than two nuns, three old ladies and a nurse…
The restroom door said gentlemen, it must have been a gag, as soon as I walked in there I ran into some old hag, she sprayed me with a can of mace and smacked me with her bag, I could tell this just wouldn’t be my day, what can I say? It just wasn’t turning out to be my day…
The restroom door said gentlemen and I would like would like to find, the crummy little creep who had the nerve to switch the signs, ‘cause I got two black eyes and one high heel up my behind, now I can’t sit with comfort and joy, boy, oh boy, now I’ll never sit with comfort and joy…
It pains me to realize that song was written thirty-six years ago; to me, the eighties are always fifteen to twenty years ago. Nonetheless, that silly little song now paints a pretty dire picture for us because if it was released today, few people, if any, would laugh. Some would be offended, while others would nod knowingly at how different of a world we now live in. In 1987, if a man walked into a ladies restroom, there was indeed the very real chance that he would end up being chased out and perhaps even slapped by the women inside. In 2023, there is a very real chance that the ladies would be too scared to say or do anything, fearing a lawsuit, a viral video castigating them, or being tagged with some “phobic” label and canceled from job, school, and social settings.
But the more significant change in the last thirty-six years has not been the utter cowering of women; it has been the absolute eradication of shame in men.
In the run-up to the fall of Judah to Babylon, God had this to say to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 6:15. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, 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, saith the LORD.” He repeated that nearly word-for-word just two chapters later. When the men of Judah lost their ability to be embarrassed by wrong and wicked things they were doing, their fate was sealed, and only judgment was left to them.
When I was growing up, the most terrifying thought on earth for any guy was accidentally going out in public with one’s fly undone. If any guy did, and someone else noticed it, everyone started pointing and laughing, and that guy turned as red as a beet as he tried to fix the problem. And if any guy accidentally went into a ladies bathroom, the entire school or workplace (or even church!) quickly knew about it, and everyone pointed and giggled or even made immature jokes. It was really embarrassing, so no one wanted to make that mistake.
And now, our children and grandchildren are growing up in a world where full-grown adult men every week are parading their naked front and backsides down the street in public, even in front of women and children. They are also growing up in a world where men are, not accidentally but intentionally, waltzing into ladies restrooms and changing areas. And they are doing so without the slightest bit of shame whatsoever.
That is a bad thing, not a good thing, and it is infecting every area of life. It used to be shameful to be a drunkard, and now it is as accepted as the rising of the sun. It used to be shameful to be promiscuous, and now, woe be unto anyone who dares to even infer that it is wrong. It used to be shameful to even speak of abortion, and now comediennes literally joke about disposing of their own children in that manner. It used to be shameful to be caught in a lie, especially as a public official, but now it is laughed at and regarded as “shrewd politics.”
The loss of shame, the inability to even blush at the wicked things we do, is one of the final signs of a dying society. A people that loses their sense of shame also loses their ability to recognize true beauty and their willingness to moderate their behavior for the benefit of others; they become utterly self-absorbed; they become their own god with the belief that everyone else exists for their pleasure and as their audience.
So, when you pray, in addition to asking God for all of the “old standbys” such as money to pay the bills, good health, and success, it would be a great idea to also pray something along the lines of, “Lord, we have lost something pretty precious, namely our ability to blush. We don’t deserve your mercy, Lord, but if you would be so kind as to give it anyway by giving us back a healthy sense of shame, we would surely appreciate it.”
There is still beauty in a blush.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at email@example.com