Joy Shaming

Thou shalt be JOYFUL, dammit!

Readership: Christians
Theme: Identity, Image, and Impressions
Author’s Note: Joy Shaming was originally published at Lexet Iustitia on (2020-1-24). This revised version with images added is coauthored with Jack.
Length: 1,350 words
Reading Time: 4.5 minutes

Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.

Psalm 126:5 (NKJV)

Joy and Sorrow

Joy is a product of salvation (Psalm 35:9) and contentment (Psalm 63:5). Romans 15:13 associates joy and peace with trust in the lord (sometimes translated as faith or hope). Joy comes when justice is served (Psalm 67:4) and mercy is granted (Psalm 106:1). Galatians 5:22 sets joy in a list of fruits of the spirit that contrast with the deeds of the flesh.

There is a common assumption that the “appropriateness” of one’s joy within a specific social setting directly corresponds to one’s confidence and social efficacy, and to a large extent, this is true.

However, it is a mistake to judge one’s salvation, contentment, and trust in God by the intensity or frequency of one’s joy. The saints in scripture were joyful at times, but also full of sorrow and suffering in others. Think of Job, the Psalms, or the origination of “the man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3).

You will not find “sorrow” or “pain” among the list of deeds of the flesh. Those who pursue the desires of the flesh don’t do so for the sorrowful ħә11 of it, but rather to avoid the same. There are immediate motivations for sin and disobedience that carry rewards that are quite pleasant and satisfying. Sometimes even redemptive!

1960s style debauchery, with a line of cocaine and a glass of whisky, certainly is a lot of fun!

Joy Shaming

In essence, Joy Shaming is when someone takes issue with the fact that another person has a different expression or intensity of joy than their own, and subjects that person to shame for this reason.

Joy Shaming comes in two varieties, positive and negative.

  1. Negative — Mocking and teasing a person for being enthusiastic, open hearted, and overjoyed, as though the person is a naive imbecile or has gone mad.
  2. Positive — Objectifying, ostracizing, and/or rejecting a person for not being as upbeat and enthusiastic as they would like to see.

Taken to the extreme, it can break down trust and goodwill between parties.

Joy Shaming — Negative Type 1

Type 1 is most often seen in the world, when cynical, jaded people taunt or tease those who are more expressive of their emotions, especially those who are idealistic, inexperienced, or pure of heart.

To offer some examples…

  • When upper classmen haze their juniors.
  • When seasoned coworkers play practical jokes on new employees.
  • Those who have bad habits single out those without bad habits, making them out to be arrogant, “goody-two-shoes”, or “too good for us”, when in fact, they are more healthy.
  • When promiscuous women joy shame chaste women in an effort to pull them down to their level, instead of chaste women shaming those who are promiscuous.

Of note, Type 1 is the social tool most often used to pressure others to join in on the race to the bottom.

Joy Shaming — Positive Type 2

Type 2 is often seen within, but certainly not limited to, evangelical circles.

  • When Christian laymen who lack joy are questioned and treated cooly.
  • When pastors and elders who lack joy are faced with criticism of their ministries.
  • When bible teachers, elders, or pastors demand joy from certain people in the congregation.
  • When specific individuals are avoided or shunned simply because they are uncomfortably honest and serious.

I have even seen people going so far as to deny the title “Christian” or “brother” to those they deem to lack joy.

Willem DaFoe stars in Last Temptation of Christ (1988).

The remainder of this essay will focus on Type 2 Positive Joy Shaming within the church.

Reasons for Joy Shaming

There are several reasons “teachers” employ the joy-card, but the basic running theme is that they refuse to engage with someone on a personal level.

  1. Arrogance: Teachers won’t acknowledge a point or question brought up as being legitimate. “You are just angry / bitter / mad / etc. and lack joy. End of discussion.”
  2. Deflection: It deflects the inquisition, changes the subject, and redirects focus so now they ask the questions. “Having another bad day, eh? Let’s try not to bring everyone down for once.”
  3. Manipulation: It causes those who have questions or criticisms to doubt themselves, and/or makes them afraid of speaking up. “If you were a true believer / more mature in your faith / etc., then you might see things differently.”
  4. Shame: It is a shaming tactic in order to appear morally and spiritually superior. “I’d hate to be you.”

It should be obvious that “joy” in this context is being misused, or rather abused.

Such tactics are often employed on social media, where a false authority faces an information imbalance – a person knows more about them than the teacher knows about the random person. The teacher then coopts this criticism (any criticism) from a random person to make themselves out to be a victim. That is, the random person is made out to be spiritually wrong or weak by criticizing his moral superior.

Their false demand for an ambiguously defined joy is, in essence, a demand for people to not ask questions or levy any complaints their way. Taken to its logical conclusion, however, demands for joy are essentially a demand for conformity / “works” in order to achieve acceptance, righteousness, and salvation.

Joy Shaming is Intellectual Dishonesty

Wherever there is criticism, there is often the question of whether it is justified. An honest person who is troubled by unfair criticism would acknowledge the criticism and address how the criticism creates division, enmity, etc. But the fact that these teachers resort to accusations of joylessness is interesting. By deflecting and shifting the matter to a person’s alleged lack of joy, the criticism is never acknowledged. That deflection is an expression of arrogance — a trait any “teacher” or “elder” should NOT have. (Read Training Pastors and Elders in the Church.)

Joy Shaming is Spiritual Abuse

If a joy shaming tactic is ever used against you by a person claiming to be a church authority, you have encountered a spiritually abusive person. Spiritual abuse is a topic assiduously avoided in church circles, but I’ll suffice it to say that it is a fruit of an evil spirit. I encourage all to read The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen.

I have yet to see a person employ this tactic (pulling the joy-card) who isn’t later revealed to be a false teacher. Red flags should be present whenever a “reformed” person pulls the joy card.


There is a significant difference between Joy and comfort/Peace. Expressing joy is a fruit of the spirit and an expression of contentment and peace. However, Joy can very well be experienced by those who aren’t saved. Those who are saved typically have few moments of happiness in their life. Persecution… *cough*.

It is theologically problematic to associate any criticism of a “teacher” or ministry with joylessness, just as it would be problematic to associate all criticism with several deeds of the flesh. It is especially problematic when the ministry or teacher regularly engages in criticism of others themselves (such as feminism).

Spiritually abusive types tend to focus on the feeelz goods, and avoid criticism and honest discussion entirely. They thrive on ambiguity and habitually toss up word salads. If you see “teachers” exhibiting intellectual or spiritual fragility online, stay away from them.

In dealing with those who truly lack joy, instead of questioning the authenticity of their faith, we should be praying for that person to receive the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12).

Don’t get caught up in the fear-inducing demands for works, including the emotion work of expressing joy, and extra-biblical mantras such as “Christian hedonism,” etc. If a person chooses to express an inauthentic joy requiring emotion work, then it should be done in faith for the inspiration of others. Authentic joy cannot be demanded of others, and if it is, then this can be abusive.

This entry was posted in Agency, Authenticity, Boundaries, Charisma, Churchianity, Confidence, Discerning Lies and Deception, Discernment, Wisdom, Enduring Suffering, Evangelism, Freedom, Personal Liberty, Handling Rejection, Indicators of Contempt, Joy, Leadership, Legalism, Models of Failure, Moral Agency, Paradigms of Religion, Personal Presentation, Power, Prayer, Protestantism, Sphere of Influence, Stewardship, Teaching, Therapeutic Moralistic Deism. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Joy Shaming

  1. feeriker says:

    I’m sure that most of us here who are of an evangelical background have on many occasions experienced the Positive Type 2 Joy Shaming. This is the accusation by pastors or lay leaders of being insufficiently bubbly/retarded-child optimistic and cheerful at all times, even as you’re going through soul-shredding trials and ordeals. Rather than (heaven forbid!) make inquiries as to the source of the “joy disruption,” or (perish the thought!) be a source of aid and comfort to a brother or sister in Christ so afflicted, such people command that the afflicted essentially don a facade of cheerfulness and show the world that all is doves and rainbows. Otherwise they would have to actually ACT as brethren in Christ, which apparently is as unpleasant a prospect as facing persecution by the enemy.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Lexet Blog says:

      Yep. It’s pervasive against young men, especially from anti RP types. It’s part of Piper’s “Christian hedonism” nonsense where we have to be Uber joyful about our bf Jesus 24/7.

      But it betrays ignorance. Psalms, and many OT prophetic texts (the latter half of OT) are very somber and not full of joy.

      And it’s just as you say, a way to punish people rather than act to be a source of comfort.

      Liked by 4 people

      • feeriker says:

        The fact that it’s all-pervasive, literally EVERYWHERE, is enough to induce depression, despair, and even apostasy in those who are of insufficient maturity in their faith.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Sharkly says:

      Some pastors act like their job is to be a stand-up comedian, and you’re a backslidden sinner if you don’t laugh at all their lame religious jokes, most of which you’ve heard before, and could have delivered better yourself. They’re not grave men, as 1 Timothy 3 requires. And if part of your sadness is caused by a wife, clearly you’re the one in the wrong. The goddess is innocent and you’re guilty, they will defend their goddesses with more religious fervor than they’d ever defend the resurrection of Christ. They’ll gladly welcome an unbeliever in their church, who questions Jesus Christ’s innocence, but never a man who questions his wife’s behavior, and maintains his own innocence in the matter.

      It’s clear who those charlatans tacitly worship, and it ain’t Jesus Christ.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. info says:

    “They thrive on ambiguity and habitually toss up word salads”

    Hence Rectification of names:

    “A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”

    — Confucius, Analects

    “Nets are for catching fish; after one gets the fish, one forgets the net. Traps are for catching rabbits; after one gets the rabbit, one forgets the trap. Words are for getting meaning; after one gets the meaning, one forgets the words. Where can I find people who have forgotten words, and have a word with them?”

    — Zhuangzi

    Xun Zi wrote a chapter on “The Rectification of Names” developing a theme that had been introduced by Confucius, saying:

    “Let the ruler be ruler, the subject subject; let the father be father, and the son son.”[8] Chapter 22, “on the Rectification of Names”, claims the ancient sage kings chose names (Chinese:名, Pinyin:míng) that directly corresponded with actualities (Chinese: 實, Pinyin: shí), but later generations confused terminology, coined new nomenclature, and thus could no longer distinguish right from wrong.”

    — Xun Zi

    Just as applicable in Politics. Where no matter how we vote. Politicians never seem to do what we want. Or even when we have the right Politicians the Bureaucracy won’t obey or throws up roadblocks.

    Clarifying Authority and Power allows them to be dealt with properly. Rather than the Kayfabe of False opposition from our so called “Representatives”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bardelys the Magnificent says:

      Naming things proclaims ownership of the thing. God named Adam, but Adam was allowed to name the animals. He also named Eve, and his children. We gave into our enemies when we let them define (name) things. If we want to turn the boat around, one of the things we have to do is take back the language.


      • Lexet Blog says:

        The modern application is creating and framing a narrative, and setting your own agenda, rather than react to the left 24/7 like Rs have done over the last 100 years.


  3. okrahead says:

    Matthew 5:4 (KJV)
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. okrahead says:

    Ecclesiastes 2:2 (KJV)
    I said of laughter, it is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?


  5. okrahead says:

    I just put up a new post.

    Okrahead: The Resume (2022-6-22)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joe2 says:

      I left the following comment on your new post, The Resume.

      “Is she a virgin? If not, how many men has she been with, and for how long? If she is not a virgin, and especially if she has been with multiple partners, your risk for divorce increases exponentially.”

      When reviewing her resume, I’m not sure how you’d go about evaluating the number of partners, the length of time she was with each partner, and her sexual past.

      As a hypothetical example, let’s take Sally who is 25 and states the following on her resume.

      Scenario 1 – She claims she had 3 partners, each for about 4 months and during that time they were banging each other every other day.
      Scenario 2 – She claims she had 6 partners, each for a couple of weeks and during that time they banged each other a couple of times.
      Scenario 3 – She claims she is a virgin and she only engaged in oral sex with her partners in scenarios 1 and 2.

      How are these scenarios evaluated?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oscar says:

    Speaking of non-sexual attraction: joy is an extremely attractive quality in any person. Joy doesn’t just attract the opposite sex. Joy attracts friends. Joy even attracts business.

    I say this as a person who isn’t naturally joyful.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. whiteguy1 says:

    With my ex she would use any method she could to bring me down if I was showing any sorts of joy in my life.

    Lord, you ain’t kidding about the joy shaming at church. The youth minster, who’s a straight up male feminist, still tries to subtly joy shame me when I asked for help with my kids and the alienation, and he’s the one supposedly leading my girls…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lexet Blog says:

      Unless he meets the requirements of an elder, he has no business holding any position in the church.

      Liked by 3 people

      • feeriker says:

        I’ve said it before, but very few churches, especially Protestant evangelical ones, want to even touch the subject of scripturally prescribed qualifications for holding church office. If American churches were to start rigidly enforcing these qualifications, 99.9 percent of them would suddenly find themselves leaderless (which they already are in practice, but that’s fodder for a whole other thread).

        Liked by 3 people

      • Lexet Blog says:

        There is not a single person in the entire Roman Catholic Church that even meets half the qualifications.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Oscar says:

        When I point out that the vast majority of Protestant ministers fail to meet the requirements for elders and deacons in Timothy and Titus when they start ministry, no one bats an eye.

        When I point out that Catholic priests likewise fail to meet the same requirements, you’d think I was the author of that Virgin Mary poop portrait, judging by the reaction.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Lexet Blog says:

        Yep. And I question their purported beliefs when they disregard scripture.

        Liked by 1 person

    • whiteguy1 says:

      He’s married, got 4 kids, and I can tell you who wears the pants in that relationship… You ought to see what his daughters have worn to church… Let’s just say they are very spicy Latina girls. (He’s as white as they come.) When I’m not so irritated about the whole thing, I write about this church… it’s… it’s disappointing.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Lexet Blog says:

        Yea… If it’s one thing I’ve learned, you can’t comment on the whoredom uniforms that girls wear to church.

        Liked by 2 people

      • feeriker says:

        “When I’m not so irritated about the whole thing, I write about this church… it’s… it’s disappointing.”

        You can take comfort in knowing that your experience is also all too typical.

        Liked by 2 people

      • locustsplease says:

        Recently, I saw a woman wearing a knitted sweater, obviously the kind meant to be an under shirt because it’s see thru. She had no under shirt. And I could see no bra lines, front or back, even a matching skin color. I got many good looks because she was volunteering where I was. I’m almost %100 I saw her nipples. Next time I see that I’ll have to email them.

        Everybody forgets that women showing their flesh are perverts, but they think the men are the perverts. No, pushing the limits of nakedness at church makes you the pervert, not men’s reaction to it.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. whiteguy1 says:

    The woman is allergic to joy in any form… like David’s first wife, she got embarrassed anytime I would show that pure joy that the Lord was giving to me for what ever reason…


    Liked by 1 person

    • feeriker says:

      I’m convinced that this is one manifestation of the mental illness that is crippling anywhere between one quarter and one half of all American women.

      Liked by 3 people

      • info says:

        Read this post by Voxday:
        “Demonic attack appears to be a gradient that begins with coercion from presumably unwitting human servitors but gradually transitions to direct spiritual assault aimed at self-destruction.

        the subsequent developments, which materialists would erroneously dismiss as mere psychological aftershock, are illuminating.

        I told myself I was a messy, ­attention-seeking, dumb, teenage girl. I was the trainwreck that went from model student to stupid slut. But in the end I didn’t think I had the guts to actually end it. Back at school I took all the insults — the fired spitballs, the rolled-up notes saying ‘SLAG’ — and the only way I found any relief was to go somewhere alone and take out the blade I’d unscrewed from a pencil sharpener. I made bright-red cuts across my arms and up my torso. I wanted to feel the sting. I wanted to watch as the blood kept oozing.

        Men and boys under demonic pressure tend to resort to drugs and alcohol. Women and girls tend to resort to gluttony, starvation, or bloodletting. In both cases, the result is to open themselves to direct demonic influence that eventually results in oppression or even possession.

        The photos damaged her, but the blame broke her. Her mental health began a ­dangerous downward spiral, taking her to a dark and terrifying place. She started to hear mean, accusing voices laughing at her, calling her names, and we, the people who loved her, couldn’t reach her. While driving at 60mph to a d­esperately hard-won appointment at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, she suddenly opened the door and tried to get out. The ‘people’ told her it wasn’t safe in the car.

        Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.”

        A lot of misdiagnosed “mental illness” is actually demonic oppression.


  9. Oscar says:

    Off topic: “But… but…. but…. no one ever died because their biceps were too small!” ~ every gamma ever


    • cameron232 says:

      Seems to matter for men over 60. If you just focused on e.g. push-ups and pull-ups you’d probably get into the top 1/3 strength wise. You could use a routine from something like Convict Conditioning but I don’t think you’d have to progress to the advanced stuff like one arm pull-ups and pushups.


      • Oscar says:

        It’s really tough to build strength after 60. Not impossible, but very difficult. It makes a lot more sense to start young, and maintain as you age. Strength training is like investing. The younger you start (after puberty), the better off you’ll be.

        Either way, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cameron232 says:

        I wonder what the mechanism is e.g. cancer reduction. Maybe just stressing your body as you get older helps it to maintain/repair.

        I guess I would emphasize modest goals for those who hate the gym. Convict Conditioning type workouts are very easy to stick with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oscar says:

        I doubt that strength training reduces cancer. It’s more likely that the additional muscle mass provides a reserve from which to draw, which helps you survive the ravages of chemotherapy.

        Strength training is a hell of a lot more important than most people realize.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Red Pill Apostle says:

      There are a good number of health benefits that are attributed to lifting heavy weights so the trend in the mortality data makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lastmod says:

    I have returned!

    Great vacation in “merry ol England”

    Didn’t meet the Queen but was at all of the big Jubilee celebrations on the Mall and at Buckingham Palace! Had a great time in Manchester, raised 200 quid for English war veterans at an all night northern soul dance-a-thon. Relaxed in Salcombe, Devon on the coast. Went to Stonehenge and attended a a “high” Anglican church service at the 600 year old cathedral in Manchester (did it in memory of mom, she was COE)

    The weather was excellent, got caught in one downpour in London. I got a sunburn!

    Met fellow Mods in Manchester at that Northern Soul dance-a-thon and made some new friends. The whole place was celebrating and reflecting about her Majesty. It was a great and well earned vacation.

    Glad to be home…and I see Oscar is still preaching to the choir about working out…..though I dont understand why he would need to….everyone here can crush 99% of men into petroleum and are ready to be cover models for GQ

    Anyway….glad to be home

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oscar says:

      The trip certainly didn’t improve your sense of humor.


      • Lastomod says:

        You should look in the mirror on that one, Oscar.


      • Oscar says:

        Thanks for proving my point.


      • Jack says:

        It’s quite amusing to see Joy Shaming going on in the comments under a post about Joy Shaming. Thanks for the chuckle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lastmod says:

        You know, Jack, me being as dumb as whale excrement, I have no idea if your dig was aimed at me or not…. but probably me for the fact I am going by past experiences.

        I heard a lot when I was a practicing Christian, “Oh, don’t let people steal your joy!” And in the end, it was fellow supposed believers who tried “stealing” more than anyone out in the secular world.

        Anyway, glad you are okay. As much as I love England, it was good to come back to my own bed…. in my own home.

        Liked by 1 person

    • feeriker says:

      Welcome back, Jason!

      The first week of June was a rough one for me trying to get work done with my UK colleagues (they’re in Leeds, West Yorkshire). The whole office was basically shutdown for the jubilee celebrations!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lastmod says:

        I was there! It was so much fun! The concert on The Mall, the Royal Procession! I am glad I was there at this time! I waved my little US and Union Jack flags! The party at the W London (my hotel) was off the hook on Saturday night. I think W was up almost all night, the first time in a LONG time!
        The weather was excellent. It rained only one day. I spent the last week at Salcombe on the south Coast. I got a sunburn!


  11. cameron232 says:

    Glad you had a good vacation lastmod.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. locustsplease says:

    @info. All mental illness is demonic oppression. I know first hand. Completely %100 cured through prayer. I was on every pill on earth and weekly psych apps for 2 decades. Threw that stuff away 7 years ago and told no one. They all made comments about how much better I seemed. Years afterwards, I told them I stopped taking meds. They were shocked.

    Liked by 1 person

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