Freedom from Guilt and Shame
"For God did not send his Son [Jesus] into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."1
Shame is similar to false guilt in that it is caused largely by someone who "shamed us" especially when we were young. That is, whenever we did something wrong, we got the message (verbal or non-verbal), "Shame on you." "You are a bad person." "You are a disappointment to me!" "I am so ashamed of you," etc., etc.
Such criticisms are psychologically damaging. As the old saying goes, "Give a dog a name and he will live up to it." People will too—especially if a person was constantly ridiculed, put down and shamed as a child.
True guilt says you have DONE badly but shame says you ARE bad. If a person comes to believe that he or she is a bad person, s/he will act badly. In real life we don't always act consistently with what we profess, but we always act consistently with what we believe. So if we believe we are a bad person, that's the way we will act.
When disciplining our children and confronting another person who has acted "badly," we need to "condemn" the deed NOT the person! Example: "I love you but what you have done [name it] makes me feel angry and/or very disappointed."
We need God's help so we will learn to treat others the way God treats us. While he hates our sin because it destroys those whom he loves (us), he loves the sinner and doesn't condemn or shame us. Shame and false guilt never come from God. They are man-induced.
Fortunately with God, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."2 When we confess our sins to God and ask for his forgiveness, and ask God's Son, Jesus Christ, to come into our heart and life as personal Lord and Savior, God forgives us fully and loves us totally. Again, false guilt and shame never come from God.
"Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You love me no matter what I have ever done or have failed to do. Please forgive me for all my sins and, Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and life to be my personal Lord and Savior. Please help me to forgive myself and overcome all false guilt and shame, and help me never to shame others. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
NOTE: If you prayed and asked God for forgiveness and asked Jesus to come into your heart and life, please let us know by going to: http://tinyurl.com/pgntm. If you need further help, click on: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.
1. Jesus (John 3:17, NIV).
2. The Apostle Paul (Romans 8:1).