Heeding the Warning Signs

Feelings of shame are never welcomed or wanted. Living with the guilt of unrepented sin is a heavy load to bear. However as a believer - and one righteous in God’s sight - I still experience shame and guilt. Why? Because I sin.

When considering the spiritual warning signs that God uses to help guide us, it is important to know the difference between guilt and shame. And, that there is a vast difference between misplaced (false) shame and well-placed (true) shame.

One Bible dictionary differentiates between shame and guilt in this way - "Shame is a consequence of sin. Feelings of guilt and shame are subjective acknowledgments of an objective spiritual reality. Guilt is judicial in character; shame is relational. Though related to guilt, shame emphasizes sin's effect on self-identity." (Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

John Piper has a great description regarding the types of shame we might experience. He says –

The biblical criterion for well-placed shame says, ‘Do feel shame for having a hand in anything that dishonors God, no matter how strong or wise or right it makes you look in the eyes of men.’

“The biblical criterion for misplaced shame says, ‘Don’t feel shame for something that honors God, no matter how weak or foolish or wrong it makes you look in the eyes of men. And don’t feel shame for bad circumstances where you don’t share in dishonoring God.’

Sin is always a proper cause for shame because sin is behavior that dishonors God.”

So, what are my personal strategies for handling shame? First and foremost, it is critical to honestly self-evaluate and prayerfully seek God’s face on the matter. From there, I can discover where my feelings of shame have their root. Are they misplaced or well-placed, true or false? If misplaced, I need to let it go and stand strong in my faith – even though counter cultural. If well-placed, I need to ask for forgiveness and move on – leaving shame behind. My sin has been forgiven. (1 John 1:9) I am clean through and through. I must trust God with a new, fresh start to the day!

Do you have any guilt or shame you need to lay aside? Are you ready for a fresh start to your day, your week, your life? Heed those warning signs and get on the path headed in a new direction!

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:8-12


Here's some more resources on the topic that you may want to consider.






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