In this article we are going to get to the root of shame as well as address the differences between guilt and shame. You will learn how to overcome shame based thinking and defeat shame for good! The Word will be wielded by using Bible verses on overcoming guilt and shame.
This article is intended for Christians, people who have put their faith in the redeeming work of Jesus. For more information on that check out this article.
What is Shame?
There are many different definitions of shame, but this is the one that I believe best covered it. “Shame is a powerful emotion that can cause people to feel defective, unacceptable, even damaged beyond repair.” – VeryWellMind.com.
The Root of Shame
The root of shame is an internal dialog we have in our own head. In other words, we tell ourselves we are unworthy, inadequate and unacceptable. These messages often come from childhood or other life experiences.
When we experience these feelings – we treat them like facts. Thoughts are beliefs that cause emotions. Said another way, we have an emotional response to thoughts (internal dialog).
Shame grows when hidden in our minds. As shame grows, we become isolated and withdrawn from others to hide the shame that we experience. It drags us away from community into darkness, fearing people will see us as inadequate, unworthy or beyond repair. As a result, we hide our true authentic selves.
The Difference Between Guilt and Shame
Shame can rise up in us from our own past sin or the sins of other people around us. It’s rooted in the belief that we lack worth or value. And other words, “I am bad”. Whereas guilt is rooted in our mistakes,- “I did something bad.”
While there are differences between guilt and shame, the antidote is the same…
The antidote is in the Bible. It’s imperative that we take thoughts captive, by using God’s Word to view ourselves through a biblical lens. Who does God say we are? Too often, we believe the things other people say about us. Or we believe what we say to ourselves (internal dialogue) over what the Bible actually says.
Bible Verses About Shame
Remember, shame is all about identity. It’s the belief that we are damaged beyond repair, inadequate, or worthless. The following Bible verses are about who we are in Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
Yet all who did receive them, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – John 1:12
But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17
“before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
But you are a chosen people, a Royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
See what great love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – Ephesians 1:4-5
So God-created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Guilt is the uncomfortable feeling or condition that follows sin. We are all sinners in need of a savior (Jesus). Once we accept Jesus as our savior, the death of our sin is forgiven by Christ’s death on the cross.
We are still sinners – and experience the feeling of guilt when we sin. But, we’re forgiven. We can come to God asking forgiveness and it be granted. Choose to live in his lavish grace. Check out the following Bible verses about guilt.
Bible Verses About Guilt
In him we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace… Ephesians 1:7
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson they shall be like wool”. Isaiah 1:18
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
As far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
Lining up our experience of guilt and shame with the truth of God’s Word is how we overcome and defeat shame and guilt.
5 Steps to Overcome Shame Based Thinking
- Bring shame based thinking into the light. Shame grows best in dark places in grows in power. Tell someone you trust about your thoughts or journal to process them.
- Identify what causes shame in you. What tends to trigger those beliefs about being beyond repair, unworthiness or and belonging.
- Separate what you do (actions) from who you are (identity). Use God’s Word to help you discern truth from lies. The Bible is the ultimate authority on your identity. You are deeply loved (John 3:16), chosen (Ephesians 1:4) and set apart (Deuteronomy 14:2).
- Choose to believe who God says you are rather than who others say you are (or who you say you are). Ask God to write these truths on your heart through Scripture reading and memorization.
- Overcome shame based thinking with practicing a healthy thought life. Cultivate a grateful heart through gratitude journaling. renew your mind daily with the Truth of God’s Word and spend time in praise and worship.
Wrapping Up How to Overcome Guilt and Shame
The steps to overcome shame based thinking can help you defeat shame in your life. No more feeling isolated, unlovable or unworthy. Your identity is in Christ, there is no more condemnation!
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How will you use these steps to overcome shame and guilt? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below!