Title, “Changing Minds: Resisting Shame, Embracing Empathy” over an image of brain scans
(banner by Jamie Arpin-Ricci)

Changing Minds: Resisting Shame, Embracing Empathy

Jamie Arpin-Ricci
4 min readApr 22, 2022

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In a recent social media post, I engaged with a commenter after they made some wildly uninformed and outright false statements about LGBTQ+ people in general and bisexuality in particular. Despite trying to respond clearly and politely to them, their response back was hostile, inflammatory, and completely closed to genuine engagement.

What made it stand out, however, was that it was couched in Christian language that seemed to assert that their views were not only unquestionably and obviously true, but ultimately loving.

While others in the thread seemed shocked by her tone and words, I was not. This was all too familiar. I had been in countless other conversations exactly like this one. So, I made my case as clearly as I could (as much for other readers than for this person) and moved on.

I haven’t always responded to these kinds of exchanges this way. In the past (and on bad days still), I would react by decimating their shallow arguments, undermining the basis of their beliefs, and calling into question their integrity as Christians. In other words, I would shame them. And, just for a moment, such a response felt good, especially when others would pile on their agreement. So why did I stop?

Reasons To Resist Shame

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is a bisexual author & activist with more than 25 years experience living at the intersection of faith, sexuality, and justice.