Do you blush? I know I do, but then I’ll admit I’m prone to finding myself in embarrassing situations and often suffer from a good dose of foot-in-mouth disease. Blushing is often seen as a negative thing. It may signal wrongdoing, or draw attention to our shortcomings, but I’ve recently discovered several truths about blushing that has made me think differently about it—even welcome it.
This is how I came to my blushing epiphany.
Lately, I’ve been praying for understanding about the growing rifts I have noticed in our western societies. Whether it is in Australia or the U.S., I feel the intolerances between the left and right sides of politics are growing, as well as the gap between city and country. There have been times I’ve wondered if I’m witnessing the deterioration of godly society’s right before my eyes.
‘Surely not,’ I’ve thought. ‘It’s impossible that such firmly established societies could crumble.’
Then I started reading the book of Jeremiah.
The book of Jeremiah is about the very societal demise I have been contemplating. In the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the elite of society were riddled with pride. This man of God spent decades tirelessly warning them of their future demise, yet his words fell on deaf ears. Every facet of society, from kings to priests, denigrated Jeremiah and his message. Even when disaster fell in the form of invasion and exile, the false prophets maintained that Jeremiah’s God-given message was wrong.
I couldn’t help but see correlations between Jeremiah’s pride-filled society, and my own Western society. I was especially convinced of the similarities when I came across two very specific references to blushing:
Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 6:15 (NIV)
Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD. Jeremiah 8:12 (NIV)
These two almost identical verses so close together encouraged me to contemplate blushing. Who wants to blush anyway? If we could avoid blushing, we probably would.
So why, in these verses, does God say He will deal so harshly with those who don’t know how to blush? It must be important as He repeats it.
I found a fascinating article about the study of blushing titled: ‘Why blushing may be good for you.’ It is published by the BBC and written by Claudia Hammond. Here is the link:
Essentially it outlines various studies that reveal the positive effects of blushing. Here is an extract from the article:
‘Other research has found that if you blush people are more likely to forgive you, and it can even avert a conflict. When you’re trying to work out who to trust, it makes sense to choose the people who would feel guilty if they did anything wrong. The ideal person to trust is someone who would blush and give themselves away.’
I deducted that blushing is a visible sign of acknowledgement of guilt. If we, and everyone around us, know we are guilty, that could lead to confession and repentance.
If only the elite in Jeremiah’s society had blushed. Even if just one of them had blushed, maybe there could have been a flow-on effect. Maybe they would have turned back to God. How did they get so full of pride that they couldn’t even blush? Not even when they were proven wrong. Not even when they had been humbled.
This led me to contemplate the times I had blushed before God. Times when I came to Him embarrassed by my actions, or cringing over my lack of faith, or trust, or obedience. The red patches on my cheeks, the heat enflaming my neck, the heavy, sick feeling in my stomach—all were physical proof of my self-professed guilt. And it was good. It was positive. My blushing led me to confess my sin, seek forgiveness, and repent. To ask for His help, His way, and His grace.
I sought to detail my life. What was in my life, my heart, that caused me to blush now? I asked the Lord to reveal anything that should be making me blush before Him. I started to see blushing differently, and discovered I am grateful for it.
Blushing is our body’s reaction to a spiritual humbling. It reveals the truth of our hearts, even when our mouths still dare not confess. It covers a multitude of wrongs. It inspires others to sympathize with us in our embarrassing moments. It brings repentance.
So, dear reader, embrace your blush. And I challenge you to ask the Lord to reveal the things in your life, and your heart that should be making you blush before Him. Ask for it. Invite it. Welcome it. Then blush away.
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:12 (NIV)
First seen in Book Fun Magazine:
Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.
Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is A Christmas Resolution, which is part of the novella box set, An Aussie Summer Christmas.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.
Visit Rose at: www.rosedee.com