MASK SHAMING. Have you done it? Have you experienced it? It goes both ways. You can shame bomb those who wear masks and those who don’t. You’ve likely seen the clip of the MSNBC masked reporter saying on air, “As you can see, no one is wearing them”— “including the cameraman,” an unmasked passerby butts in, “half your crew’s not wearing them.” The embarrassed reporter had to admit, “There you go, including the cameraman. Yeah.” It’s been viewed more than 2.8 million times.

“That’s what we do as human beings,” said North Carolina State University anthropology professor Nora Haenn. “These are informal ways we try to keep each other in line. Even in the best of times, we certainly shame each other.”

Oh my, there has to be a better way. Let’s look at the best example of shame bombing in the Bible: the woman caught without a mask (John 8:3-10, GW Version).

“We caught this woman without a mask,” the masked men told Jesus. “You know the rules about wearing masks. So what do you say?” They suspected Jesus would tell her that her sins are forgiven—which would mean ignore the rules. Instead Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him with sanitizer gel. He straightened up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote in the dirt. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, six feet apart, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin not more.” 

Instead of shame bombing, Jesus takes a risk (some idiot could have picked up a rock!). He doesn’t condemn the masked men or the unmasked woman (which does not mean that masks don’t matter). He wants everyone to humble themselves, refuse mask shaming, and consider the perils of a mask-less lifestyle. 

How about you?