The Islands of Average, Honour and Shame

By: Duncan Robinson

There are three islands in the world, Average, Honour and Shame. On each of these islands there lives a number of people. Some people start on Honour Island, but most of us start on either Average or Shame Island. Average Island is where the majority of the population dwells. Our hope is one day to catch a one-way ticket to Honour Island. Whether that be through celebrity or prestige or wealth. Our hope is that we might end up on Honour Island.

It just looks way better than Average Island.

The crazy thing about the situation is that people on Honour Island are actually put there by people on Average Island. The dictate whether or not someone might stay on Honour Island. So when you actually arrive at Honour Island things are great. But flights off Honour Island only go one-way. Your next stop, if you mess up, is to head off to Shame Island.

Shame Island sucks.

You can’t leave, and once you’re there no-one is clear on how to escape. It’s filled with people who either started there, or people who were on Honour Island and did something wrong. Or average people who messed up and ended up there. Even people on this island who are truly repentant have no chance for escape.

This feels like the situation with life, no one is happy being with the masses and we all hope to do something cool to earn a one-way pass to Honour Island. Of course staying on Honour Island means never doing something wrong, which puts an unbelievable strain on everyone living on that island. Shame Island also sucks because there isn’t really a chance for reconciliation.

Social Media allows people to swiftly move towards shame. The nature of social media means we can rally a crowd and fly people between the three islands REALLY fast. We can also generate a movement to send someone to Shame Island without any chance of reconciliation.

There is a better way.

I want to propose that Christians should love living on one big island.

Redemption Grace Island.

On this island we have all been redeemed by the Grace of Jesus. All broken, all restored, all healed and all forgiven. People on this island realise that people regularly fall down and stumble but reflect the attitude of the island and offer the same Redemption and Grace we have all be shown.

No one-way tickets.

No shame.

Sure it’s way messier because it means that we have to navigate forgiveness and reconciliation. Sure it’s hard because sometimes people aren’t willing to forgive or say sorry. But thankfully as we navigate the mess we ensure that no-one ends up on Shame Island without the possibility of reconciliation. Grace Redemption Island is a much better model. It’s where people live in a way to see restoration and forgiveness ahead of shame and honour. It’s a place where we aren’t hoping for honour and scared of shame. Rather we live under the thankfulness of grace and redemption.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

Article supplied with thanks to Duncan Robinson.

About the Author: Duncan Robinson is a radio host, pastor, husband and father of two.