Over the years we have met many people who feel guilt and shame are the same. Well, they’re not.
The goal of guilt is to convict us of committing a wrong act so that we will confess it, be forgiven and then change. The outcome is positive, making us more Christlike in our attitudes and actions.
However, the goal of shame is to convince us that something is intrinsically wrong with us that can’t be fixed or forgiven. Ultimately robbing us of hope and filling us with despair.
Romans 5 says, “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Guilt says, “I’ve done something bad.” Shame says, “I am bad.”
Realize, God gives us hope, hope in place of shame! Hope to overcome our guilt and to actually live guilt free.
Are you in an emotional battle because of guilt? Is your guilt a loving instrument of God used to convict, correct and conform your character when you go astray? Or do you battle feelings of shame and condemnation when guilt strikes a blow to your heart? True guilt is your friend, a godly companion who whispers truth and motivates you to repent and be free. False guilt is a relentless foe. It is the enemy within that encourages not godly and superficial sorrow that brings death!
In contrast to Satan’s condemning accusations, the Holy Spirit never condemns true Christians. Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” As a conscientious Father, God sometimes allows you to experience the consequences of your sin as an encouragement to change. He will also produce in your heart a desire to do His will. (Read Hebrews 12:4-11.)
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
Meet two kinds of guilt: One is a friend who speaks truth, gently leading you to repentance and forgiveness. The other is a secret conspirator who taunts and condemns, bringing dishonor and inner shame. False guilt arises when you blame yourself even though you’ve committed no wrong or when you continue to blame yourself after you have confessed and turned from your sin.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Key Verse to Memorize
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”