There are multitudes of Christians out there who feel guilty and at the same time ashamed of themselves. As a result, these believers are having a hard time approaching the throne of God. They feel unclean and unworthy to have an intimate relationship with the holy and living God. Shame and guilt can indeed make us feel worthless, and it prevents us from hosting the presence of our merciful King. We then feel that God is far away from us, and such distance makes our lives miserable and hopeless.
Like shame, guilt is also a universal experience. Regardless of whether you are a believer or not, guilt can be felt by all human beings. Even individuals who reject morality and the existence of God are trapped by the law God wrote on their hearts (Romans 2:15). So, all of us can feel guilt, but knowing the person and the works of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sin and guilt. Be aware that guilt wears us down spiritually if we think about it all the time.
The Difference Between Shame and Guilt
Shame is seeing one’s self as a failure. Meanwhile, guilt is realizing your failure. Before we were “born again” it was natural to feel shame and guilt. This is because the Holiness of God exposes our sin. But once we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, all the shame and guilt that we feel should eventually disappear. However, keep in mind that there is also what we call false guilt and false shame. This happens when Satan reminds us of our sinful actions from the past. Satan throws shame and guilt at us even though we’ve already repented and have been forgiven by Jesus.
Do not forget that Jesus Christ has redeemed us not only from hell and the wrath of God but also from having to wallow in the slough of guilt and shame. Always remember that Jesus does not only offer us eternal life in the future, but He also promised an abundant life in the present. Abundant life does not necessarily mean possessing lots of money and material things, but it is about enjoying joy and peace in Christ. Our Lord Jesus lived and died not only for the shame of our sins but also for the guilt of our sins. Enjoying an abundant life in Jesus today is impossible if we are always thinking about shame and guilt.
Getting Rid of Shame and Guilt
Lift your weary eyes from gazing upon our shame and guilt and start fixing your eyes on Christ. Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We also need to make sure that we understand Who Jesus really is and what He did for us. Take note of what Paul wrote in Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Romans 6:17 also said, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” The root of shame and guilt is sin, and if we are no longer slaves to sin, then we should not feel ashamed and guilty when approaching God. After all, Christians are already slaves of righteousness. And such righteousness is not of our own but that which is of Jesus Christ.
Stop thinking about your past failures but set your focus on the One Who has forgiven you. Call the name of Jesus whenever you feel shame and guilt. Take note that “he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,” Micah 7:19. 1 John 1:9 states that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us,” (Psalm 103:12). And finally, you need to know that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).