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.

how to overcome guilt and shame

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 As shame grows, we become isolated and withdrawn from others to hide the shame that we experience.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.

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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…

Overcoming  Shame 

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

Overcoming Guilt

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

  1. 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.
  2. Identify what causes shame in you. What tends to trigger those beliefs about being beyond repair, unworthiness or and belonging.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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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!

10 Comments

  1. DL on February 24, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Great post! I know I need to be reminded of this – daily!

  2. April on February 24, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Saturday night I had a conversation through my work with the faith based crisis line and as we chatted, I realized her root issue was shame. As I explained the difference between guilt and shame, sharing that since she’d already asked forgiveness from the Lord, she was forgiven 1 John 1:9 but she was struggling to forgive herself. The enemy wants her to feel she was constantly wearing the outfit of shame…she was so thankful that I shared Bible truths with her to help her defend against this shame. She was going to put into action some ways to continue healing and I could tell it was as if a burden had been lifted! People NEED to hear and read these truths you’ve shared! Thank you for being a warrior in this fight against shame!

  3. Antwion on February 25, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    This is an amazing article and I believe that many people need to be aware of this especially new believers. I’ve believe for a long time and now in my life Ive experienced overwhelming since of shame and guilt from experience in my past. Almost if my mind couldnt find relief and talking to a TRUSTED source helps. Thanks for sharing and giving wisdom.

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Antwion…you are so right, talking to a trusted source helps-so important to be in community with other believers so they can speak words of truth and encouragement to us!

  4. Vicki Short on February 26, 2020 at 8:31 am

    This was a great help to me! I realize what I thought was guilt, was really shame. I know God forgives me for my sins, but I have a hard time forgiving myself (and forgetting). The Hebrews 8:12 was an eye opener! If God can forget, who am I to hold on to it?

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm

      Yes! I love that verse as well:)

  5. Sonya on February 26, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you so much, Sunshyne for encouraging us with this truth. Shame along with guilt is something we need to be talking about more among Christians. I especially like #3 separate what you do from your identity. So good!!

    • Sunshyne on March 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks, Sonya-always appreciate your kind words!

  6. Jerrika K Walker on March 4, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    ♥️♥️♥️

  7. […] How to Overcome Shame Based Thinking, Sunshyne Gray […]

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