This one comes to us from Blake Nail.

The box of Cookie Crisp taunts you as you reach for the Grape Nuts and sigh. You travel over to aisle 9 where the peanut butter is and realize you should just grab some jelly while you’re at it. Make a stop in aisle 14 for the paper towels, store brand. Head for the checker, ignore Jennifer Aniston’s diet and pictures of England’s newest baby. Grab a Butterfinger. There’s a new flavor to try; it says it right on the wrapper. The cashier asks, “Do you need bags?” You say, “Yeah, thanks.”

You push your cart to the fourth parking row where you found the last open spot. A mom loading her fussing daughter into the backseat glares at you as if you were the reason for the trouble. A couple giggles to each other, attempting to hide the fact that they are laughing at you, but they fail. An elderly man shakes his head at you, watching from his driver-seat. Confused, you load your bags up and head home. While unloading the groceries, you notice something strange about the plastic bags. They say “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” in a dark orange 70s font. Your confusion morphs into shame, realizing the cause of the incidents in the parking lot.

This could be your experience at a Vancouver grocery store where for five cents a bag you too can purchase shame. The options range from the one about the adult video store to “Dr. Toews Wart Ointment Wholesale” to “Colon Care Co-Op.” These bags are part of a new program one store is testing in order to push customers toward reusable bags—by shaming them into obedience. According to Huffington Post, the bags are designed for the purpose of preventing customers from taking them, the idea being that shame would teach them to straighten out their act.

There’s nothing new under the sun, as someone wise once put it. It’s an old tactic and one that might coerce obedience. But shame cannot change someone’s heart. As the grocery store will soon find out, they may help the environment some, but they won’t change any attitudes. Shoppers will remain just like the child who is told to respond with “Yes, Sir” but never actually respects their parent. Just like the diligent churchgoer, attending every Sunday but still feeling disconnected from God. Just like the prisoner who can’t find a job upon release and winds up back behind bars. Shame comes from the sting of the law, and the law never changes one deep beneath the flesh.

We know this experientially, but we also see it in the stories we love to watch. Cersei Lannister walks through the city while the citizens scream obscenities and throw garbage at her. Bart Simpson is thrown into detention consistently and identified as the troublemaker of the school. Larry Elder is continually mocked and teased for his social interactions. And yet Cersei still takes the reins and rules violently; Bart, thirty seasons later, is still writing jokes on the chalkboard, disrespecting the school authorities; and Larry Elder still could care less about the rules of societal norms.

Of course, the environment is important. Let’s take care of it. But no matter how shameful the writing on the bag is, it won’t change a person’s heart. This is the truth we fight against, the truth we need but abhor. We want a law to obey, something to measure up to and judge others by — even more so when there is power involved. The government makes laws to control the people, companies make strict guidelines for the workplace, churches tell you how you must live to have fellowship with God. Now grocery stores decide your social standing as you walk to your car.

Someone who holds power, power strong enough to shame you, is a fearful thing. When it comes to the Most Powerful, the Alpha and the Omega, the I AM, we cling to the hope and truth that he is waiting there at the end of the checkout station. The Eternal Bagger, not only bagging your groceries but offering to carry them for you as well.