“Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:11
Shame and Guilt Are Powerful Motivators
I asked a friend of mine to come to Mission Hills to worship. His response was, “I can’t go to church, I would burst into flames.”
He believed that his past behaviors were so terrible that only death and judgment awaited him. He believes God sees him, but he doesn’t yet believe that God has a solution for his shame. Instead, his shame prevents Him from turning to God.
Shame and guilt are powerful motivators. Frequently, they cause us to isolate ourselves from sources of healing – God and God’s people.
Pastor Craig Smith defines shame as, “the persistent feeling that our mistakes make us unworthy of love and belonging.” He defines guilt as, “knowing that we have done wrong and need forgiveness.”
It is easy to focus on areas where we feel we have fallen short – and we all have.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
We understand that our actions and thoughts are not pleasing to God. The guilt we feel can cause us to withdraw from church, our families, and God. In this self-imposed isolation shame and guilt can multiply.
The Bible Offers a Solution for Our Guilt
1 John 1:9-10 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Our faithful and just God forgives us and purifies us from all unrighteousness when we confess our sins. He sees us as pure and righteous because Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
We are new creations, our old shame filled selves have passed away!
What if my emotions do not match up with the truth of God’s Word?
Most of us are intimately acquainted with our flaws and failings. They have been our unwelcome companions for years. The truth of God’s forgiveness and cleansing is a recent addition to the memories that have taken root in our minds.
We must move from a surface level understanding that God promises forgiveness, to a deeper acceptance of our new standing. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help bring our emotions in line.
In Psalm 51:1-3 David prays, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”
David acknowledges that his transgressions and sins are always before him.
Further in Psalm 51:10-12, David pleads with the Lord to, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
What a blessing that the Lord will renew our spirits and restore our joy! That truth breaks the shackles of shame.
Living in the freedom that God offers
When we are confident in God’s forgiveness, and trust that He will renew our spirits, we can live like the new creatures we are. If shame rears its head, we can apply the truth of God’s Word to “restore the joy of our salvation.” Instead of feeling shame, we can rejoice in our forgiveness and life of freedom. What used to be a source of shame becomes a source of gratitude to God.
We can proclaim, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things.” (Psalm 103:2-4 NIV)
The power of God lifts us from the pit of shame and crowns us with love and compassion. Shame no longer rules our hearts.
Grace That Breaks the Chains: Freedom from Guilt, Shame, and Trying Too Hard by Neil T. Anderson, Rich Miller, and Paul Travis
Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame by Heather Davis Nelson
Re:Gen Group | Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Mission Hills Church
Credit | Lillian Dehn
🎨 Credit | Maddie Brouwer