Similar Verses in Bible and Chinese Classics 13 Shame & Boldness

Knowing Shame is Close to Boldness?

Confucius has the following sayings, 子曰:
  1. “好学近乎知,like to learn is close to wisdom/knowledge,
  2.  力行近乎仁,diligent in doing is close to love,
  3.   知耻近乎勇   knowing shame is close to boldness    
A main question that I had with point 3 is "What has shame got to do with boldness"?
The answer can be found by looking up the saying Mencius.

The Confucian School (Ru Jia 儒家) have two main gurus. Besides the founder Confucius, there is Mencius. A key teaching of Mencius is in "Mencius Four sprouts(beginnings)".

Actually in the original Chinese, it is 四端  Four Extreme Points. The extreme can be the beginning or the end. Hence, it is better to translate it as key points.

孟子四端 Mencius Four Key Points:
  1. 恻隐之心,仁之端也;compassion/kindness is the key of love       
  2. 羞恶之心,义之端也;shame of evil is the key of righteousness      
  3. 辞让之心,礼之端也;giving way is the key of good manners (proprietary)  
  4. 是非之心,智之端也。discerning of right and wrong, true of false is the key of wisdom
We can easily find many verses from the Bible that are similar to the teaching of Mencius. We can take the famous quote from Paul on Love in

1Co 13:4-7  Love is patient and kind(point 1); love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  5  or rude. It does not insist on its own way(point 3); it is not irritable or resentful;  6  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing(point 2), but rejoices with the truth(point 4).  7  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In this post, I will just address "Shame and Boldness". For a more in depth study of Shame please see Sense of Shame is Good but Staying in Shame is Bad.

Back to How is Knowing Shame Bold?
The answer is given in Mencius' 2nd point, knowing shame is the key of righteousness.
If we join the two together, by replacing shame with righteousness in Confucius' saying, we get righteousness is close to boldness. Or a righteous person is bold.

The Righteous is Bold
There is famous Chinese saying related to this. It is "平生不做亏心事,半夜敲门心不惊", those that do no evil and have a clear conscience will not be afraid of the knocking at mid-night.

In the Bible, we get exactly the same saying as the righteous is bold. It is Proverbs 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

I hope you can see from this post that Chinese Classics and the Bible are alike and knowing Chinese Classics help us get a better grasp of the Bible and vice versa.

For more related posts see Chinese Classics & The Bible

Lim Liat (C) 19 Sep 2012

No comments: