The Unjust Knows No Shame

The prophet Zephaniah described ancient Jerusalem as “her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God ... The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust knows no shame” (3:1-5).

Although the writer was chastening an entire city, his words sting every individual today who half-heartedly practices religion while heeding a deeper voice of rebellion and self-will. They should be ashamed, but, of course, they are not. “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush” (Jeremiah 6:15). “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1).

Consider Zephaniah’s depiction of her – rebellious and defiled, oppressive, obstinate, untrusting, shameless.

Her sons are today’s worshipers who exit the church building, leaving their faith inside so that they can lie, cheat or steal, taking advantage of the weak and accumulating wealth at the expense of their own souls. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it … So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:8-13).

Her daughters are found among so many who expose their bodies shamelessly, never considering the lustful effect their forms have upon the hearts of weak men (pardon the redundancy). Daughters of Sarah must “adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control … with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works” (First Timothy 2:8-10; see also Matthew 5:27-28, 18:7-9).

Fear of Hell went out with the fear of God and our society is sick with shameless behavior which can hardly be rebuked at all. “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ” (Ephesians 4:17-19)!