Honor and Shame 101


Honor and Shame 101

Although honor-shame is the primary operating system for 80% of the world, it remains a significant blind spot in Western culture, theology, and missiology. There are also significant implications for leaders of cross-cultural teams. Watch this 5 minute animation explaining honor & shame for Christian ministry.


Key Points:

  1. The bible was written in an honor-shame culture.
  2. Honor-shame is like a social credit rating that is based on reputation and relationship.
  3. Use words to communicate honor not just ideas.
  4. Keep an eye on the relationship as well as the issues being discussed.


Key Quote:

  1. “Avoiding shame and acquiring honor is the operating system behind
    everyday life in honor-shame cultures.”


Leadership Questions:

  1. As you watch this video on honor-shame, what key ideas or phrases stand out for you?
  2. What implications does honor-shame have for how you communicate, lead meetings, and motivate team members?
  3. Based on what you’ve learned about honor-shame, what is one thing you want to do differently?



This video was designed by the Honor-Shame Network and made available as a free resource on:

7 thoughts on “Honor and Shame 101

  1. David Dick

    Very nice overview of, or introduction to, the Honor-Shame culture and how to manage and minister within one. Thanks for making this available.

  2. Wairimu

    Its really good to see this video done by a non-Eastern person. The honor-shame culture does not make it easy for those in that culture to explain it to others. In honoring people who make cross-cultural mistakes in relationships, you never explain their mistakes them so as not to induce shame, or at least until the relationship is build well enough for such a discussion to occur- you never shame your guest.

  3. Wairimu

    I’m new to Synergy Commons and still trying to find my way around. I found the following phrase and wondered what it meant.

    “Move along. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”

    I just watched the “Shame and honor 101” video and thought that the statement would make for interesting discussion because I don’t think it is one that would be made in a shame and honor context.

  4. Lucas

    @wairimu, thanks for your comment.

    Re: the phrase: “Move along. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

    I think you may have stumbled onto one of the old test groups used by the site admins. We have a public test group and a private test group which are used from time to time to test group functionality. The description of those groups has been changed to simply say: “For testing purposes only.” Thanks again!

  5. Daniel Dow Post author

    Glad you liked it! We’ll be having a burst group conversation about it Starting April 4th on the application of these concepts.

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