Honor and Shame—Good and Evil

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Most cultures throughout the world are concerned more with honor and shame than right and wrong. Western cultures tend to focus on right and wrong.

This different view of what's more important often causes a culture clash. It's like comparing apples and oranges. These values appear similar, but are different.

Both of these cultural views are found in the Book of Proverbs, and for good reason.


To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. 

Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.  [vss 1-4]

The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous. The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.

The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised. [vss 5-8]

(Proverbs 12:1-8 NLT) [Context– Proverbs 12]

Key phrase

the godly have deep roots

Digging Deeper...

  1. What are we told is necessary for learning? What else seems to be a part of the learning process to gain knowledge?
  2. Who are those who have God's approval and those who don't? What seems to be the strength of those who are godly?
  3. What are other contrasting characteristics of the godly and wicked? What is a common trait of the godly?
  4. Where do you see the values of honor and shame compared? Are these linked with good and evil in any way?


Honor and shame are generally attached to a person's character and identity. Whereas, right and wrong have more to do with behavior. Culture clashes come when we value one over the other, or worse, when no distinction is made between them.

In general, good character results in good behavior. What is the basis or foundation of your character? Do your roots go deep into God's truth and wisdom? If so, you will be blessed and secure.

Make it personal...

How do you handle being corrected or disciplined in your life?

How have you built and developed discipline into your daily life?

Do you see the values of honor and shame, along with right and wrong, at work in your life?

What are the foundations of your faith and character?