“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:2-8).”
Gregory House, the doctor on the TV series that bears his surname, is appearing before Dr. Cofield. House is being questioned by Cofield about a mecial case that went terribly awry.
House defends himself: “My process is proven. Good things usually happen. Bad things sometimes happen.”
Cofield replies: “And when bad things happen, we should figure out what went wrong, so we can learn from it and correct it.”
House isn’t buying it. He has been around long enough to develop his view on such matters.
House disagrees, telling Cofield tartly,”So that we can assign blame instead of recognizing that bad things sometimes happen. It was nobody’s fault.”
The “it” was the near death of House’s colleague and subordinate Dr. Chase. He was stabbed with a scalpel in the heart by a patient who went berserk.
Dr. Cofield hears the testimony of House’s team and learns of the manaical methods he uses. He comes to the conclusion that the case was a fiasco.
Cofield determines that House is responsible for setting an atmosphere that led to the stabbing, even though the team agrees with their boss that the stabbing was “nobody’s fault”. House is only saved from being suspended and sent back to prison because it would constitute a parole violation by the last minute testimony of the wife of the patient who knifed Chase.
The patient was transferred to another hospital, but his wife tells Cofield that House told her of the cause of his problems as he was being taken away and has saved his life. Cofield suddently switches what appeared to be a guilty verdict to one exonerating House.
Surpisingly, House calls Cofield a coward and tells him he only declared the situation as nobody’s fault because of some spouse’s bursting into the room and intervening. This is surpising. House is a curmudgeon and has never been one to admit mistakes.
However, down deep he does care,, and he blames himself for what happened to Chase. In the end, House goes to Chase, who is going through physical therapy in order to walk again.
House uncharacteristically says to Chase,”Cofield says what happened to you was nobody’s fault. He was wrong. I am sorry.”
House has experienced a sense of shame and tries to deal with it. Since the beginning of the episode he has been transformed to saying that what happened was “nobody’s fault” to admitting his guilt.
Erwin Lutzer, the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, says that there are two kinds of shame. One is the objective shame we experience before God, who justly calls our actions “sin”.
Then there is subjective shame. This comes from our experiences. For example, we may be shamed because of being abused in a terrible home while growing up.
Lutzer says shame began at the Fall. It was there that he says the “blame game” began.
After the fall Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent.
As a result, there is a defense mechanism in the human psyche that is going to say,”I am not responsible you are responsible”. Lutzer notes that some people are psychologically incapable of taking responsibility for their sins and their mistakes,and they will through ingenious ways seek to destroy all the people around them to protect themselves from exposure.
Lutzer notes that society aids and abets this. It says to reconstruct the reality around us to exonerate ourselves from shame.
Shame, says Lutzer, is felt deeply and it can ruin us. Is it any wonder we go to such lengths to avoid it.
I find myself this day trying to make sense of shame. I was told today that my contract at my job would not be renewed.
Frankly, I saw it coming. My attitudes and responses to these circumstances have not been the best. I have been trying to exonerate myself and put the blame on others.
The truth is that the blame for my demise is difficult to ascertain. I can’t decide if I was a victim of office politics or if I dug my own grave. Even so, there is shame.
In the last year I have learned an important lesson that I hope will help me deal with m job loss, at least in terms of my view of my identity. It involves having gained an understanding of whose land I live in.
Much of the world lives in what I call “the land of apples”. In this place, what matters is the plaudits of others, trophies and respect from men, and things like acclaim from your employer. I have decided that this land is not my home.
Where I try to live every day now is in “the land of oranges”. They are sweet oranges because Jesus lives there and runss the place. This country runs on the basis of His promises and His grace.
My thoughts fall in with Lutzer’s ideas about dealing with shame. He notes that Jesus took our shame on Himself.
Lutzer says His crucifixion was shameful. It destroyed His reputation, silenced Him, exposd His obvious weaknesses, lead to His abandonment, and diminished Him (Hebrews 6:6).
In the midst of my shame at losing my job, it would be easy to go after some people. However, it is clear to me that this is not God’s way. It is better to entrust myself to His care.
Furthermore, my natural inclination would be to be shamed and beat myself up over today’s developments. This is fruitlless. What is fruit-full is to continue to live in the land of oranges as I have been training myself to do.