Cultivating a Life Without Shame: Day 1

Reading guide banner WEEK 6

     Day 1: Shame vs Guilt

Pause for a minute and think about this: what is the main difference between shame and guilt? 

This is a question that both secular scholars as well as christian counselors have wrestled with for a number of years. From a biblical perspective, it’s an interesting question as the Bible seemingly has a different way of seeing shame vs guilt. 

Shame often leads us to try to hide from God. For example, in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, they immediately experienced shame and they tried to hide from God as a result. Guilt, on the other hand, leads us back towards God. Psalm 25:3 notes that those who hope in God will ever be put to shame. The Bible says that we are all guilty of sin (Roman 3:23) but we may still experience life by calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13). 

Another way of thinking about is this: Shame says, “I’m a terrible person,” but guilt says, “I did something terrible.” Shame says, “I’m such an idiot for forgetting to do that,” but guilt says, “I made a mistake, and I’m going to learn from it.”

As you read today, consider this: Have you considered the difference between shame and guilt? 

READING:

     Genesis 2:15-3:19

Have you considered the difference between shame and guilt? 

Based on the examples in today’s reading, would you say that you struggle more with guilt or with shame? 

Like Adam and Eve, is there anything in your life you’re trying to hide from God, or are you yourself hiding from Him? What do you think would happen if you stopped hiding and entered fully into His presence? 

God is inviting you to live a life completely free from shame. What does this reveal to you about His nature and character? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today has helped me to see that I regularly experience more shame in my life than I may have realized. This week, I pray that You will root up any shame in my life that has led me to hide from You. While this process may be painful, I believe that it will help me to better know You, and better know the plans that You have for my life. May I continue to know You more and more each and every day. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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