Dealing with the Shame of Sin

Dealing with the Shame of Sin

Shame due to sin is an unfortunate reality in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. We love our Lord and Savior, we appreciate all He has done for us, and we hate falling short of the life He wants for us.

But we do fall short.
  • 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

And though shame is a natural response to our sin, we serve a supernatural Savior who has delivered us from a life characterized by shame.
  • Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Sources of Shame

The Shame of Sin before a Holy God
  • Isaiah 6:5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
  • Job 42:5-6 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
    • God is absolutely pure, righteous and sinless. When we encounter His perfection, we see just how sinful we really are (all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags compared to Him – Isaiah 64:6).
    • This shame recognizes how far we have fallen from the sinless life He designed and desires for us.

The Shame of Sin from the Past
  • Jeremiah 31:19 Surely, after my turning, I repented; And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
  • Romans 6:20-21 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
    • We all have sin in our past (Ephesians 2:3). As we walk with our Savior and mature in our faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, we begin to overcome the sins that defined our life without Him. But the memories of our past lives are not wiped from our minds.
    • This shame remembers the rebellion that was in our lives before we surrendered to Christ and the weaknesses in our lives since our salvation in Christ.

The Shame of Sin in the Present
  • Ezra 9:6 And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.
  • Luke 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
    • No matter how far we have come in our journey as a believer, we still battle with sin (1 John 1:8). Not until we are in Heaven with our Lord will we be totally freed from the presence of sin and our fleshly propensity to sin.
    • This shame results from a life where Satan, the world and our flesh still tempt; and we still miss the mark. 

Moving Past Shame
  • Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
    • Stagnating in shame brings no glory to God. We are called to a life and eternal future that warrant drive, determination, confidence and dependence. We are children of a loving and Holy God who saved us from the coming wrath and promised us a glorious future in Heaven with Him. Leave your failures behind and move ahead toward those things He has promised you. It is a high calling. If anyone told you it would be easy, they lied to you.

Shame is a Sham
  • Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
    • Face the facts, if you could live without sinning, Christ would not have had to die on the cross.
    • Dwelling in shame shows a lack of understanding of and appreciation for what Christ did for you.
  • Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
    • Through Christ, you are completely reconciled to God.
    • Drowning in shame is a waste of your time and an insult to His grace.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
    • In Christ, we are perfect before God. In practice, we still fall short. Live like the saint that you are!
    • Don’t be defined by your failures, be distinguished by His victory.

God loves you more than you can possibly imagine or understand. He longs for you to quickly move past any shame in your life and enjoy the peace that only a right relationship with Him can bring.


Holy Father in Heaven, I thank You for dealing with my sin in such a way that shame should never weigh me down or linger in my life. As much as I hate falling short, I love and trust You more. Christ died to free me from shame, guilt, despair, depression and anything else that interferes in my relationship with you. Please dear Lord, use the truth of Your Word to free me and others from the grip of shame. We fall short, You never do. We get stuck in the here and now, You are focused on every moment of eternity. I praise you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.