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  • Writer's picturewkaysix

16 Guilt and Shame Part 1

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Discover the difference between guilt and shame so that you can experience the freedom God desires for you from both.

16 & 17 Guilt and Shame
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Shame and Guilt

I acknowledge the contribution of Brene Brown to the first part of this podcast. She is the one who gave me the impetus to make a significant difference in my thinking between guilt and shame. Making this difference gives insights to Biblical stories that otherwise often go unnoticed. We have to do some background work in order to understand the Bible stories. If this seems like a psychology lecture be patient we will get there!


“I am sorry I made a mistake.” From God for our protection


“I am a sorry mistake.” From devil for our destruction Often guilt and shame are difficult to separate. Confusion of terms: “ashamed” often means “guilty”


Sense of wrong DOING caused by sense of integrity (conscience). Embarrassment.Ashamed(misnomer) Originates from within the person. Released by: Recognize—Acknowledge/Confess— Restitution—Reform Forgiveness results in a sense of well being.


Unpleasant self-conscious emotion associated with negative self-image, feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness. (Wikipedia) “I am not good enough.” If you breath you have shame—Brene Brown

Ian: Principal suggests I become a Plumber

The Donkey (shame)

When fishes flew and forests walked And figs grew upon thorn Some moment when the moon was blood, Then surely I was born. With monstrous head and sickening cry And ears like errant wings The devil’s walking parody On all four-footed things. (Shame described) The tattered outlaw of the earth, Of ancient crooked will; Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb, I keep my secret still. (Hide our shame) Fools! For I also had my hour; One far fierce hour and sweet: There was a shout about my ears, And palms before my feet. (G K Chesterton)

Shame and Guilt

Shame can manifest as follows: Eyes hidden (dark glasses); lowered gaze; blushing; biting lips or tongue; forced smile; fidgeting. Prone to annoyance, defensiveness, exaggeration or denial.

Shame: Shame often interferes with our ability to think, which may result in confusion, being at a loss for words, or a completely blank mind. Shame indicated by negative self- talk: “I will never . . .” “I always . . .” “I am not good enough.” “I do not deserve . . .” “I wonder if I am a real Christian?” “Though terror speaks to life and death, and distress makes of the world a vale of tears, yet shame strikes deepest into the heart of man.... shame is felt as inner torment, a sickness of the soul....the humiliated one feels himself naked, defeated, alienated, lacking in dignity and worth.“ (Adam and Eve) Silvan Tomkins (in Nathanson, 1992)

According to Brene Brown Shame IS correlated with: Anxiety, addictions, aggression Bullying, crime Depression, disease Eating disorders Suicide Violence And Guilt is NOT correlated with the above. Not all psychologists agree with Brown’s analysis, However I will use her analysis.

Also caused by statements like: “You are a bad.” “You are stupid.” “You should . . .” (the worst) “You must . . . ” “Why don’t you . . . ?” Originates from outside of us. From Powerful people we know, and significant people in our lives. Resolved by: Recognition and Acknowledgement Getting professional help Recognition of our strengths STOP negative self-talk (Difficult) Empathy by another (antidote) Discovering personal worth!

“The rational system is the one that cares about analysis of things in the outside world, while the emotional system monitors the internal state and worries whether things are good or bad.” David Eagleman, Incognito.

1. Rational and emotional compete for reality 2. Emotional hurts not healed by advice

3. Shame usually trumps logic

Antidote for shame is empathy “I feel like that too some times.” “I have no idea what its like. Tell me about it.” “What is the worst part?” The less we talk about shame the more we have shame (Brene Brown)



“I am sorry I made a mistake.” From God for our protection SHAME: (BEING) “I am a sorry mistake.” From devil for our destruction


Adam and Eve: Guilt for eating the apple. (Internal cause) Nakedness? Only animals there! Shame from devil: (External cause) There is more to the story than what is told in God asks, “Who told you that you were naked” (Gen 3:11) Implication is that the devil told them! Shamed them! God’s robes/tunics were to deal with this shame. Genesis 3.

David, the psalmist, addresses shame: For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5 NLT) We do not experience guilt at conception. We may start experiencing shame from the way our mother speaks about us in the womb. David seems to have been strongly shame resilient!

Bible uses “sin” to describe both guilt and shame. Joshua, the High Priest, can deal with his guilt by offering lambs or bulls. Still, Joshua needs new clothes. It is his shame that he needs new clothes for. (Zechariah 3:1-10)

Did Jesus Christ ever experience shame? Illegitimate birth, Brought up in Egypt, And Nazareth. Hebrews 2:17-18 NLT “Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are tested.”

Why did Jesus need the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane? For empathy? Empathy is the antidote for shame. What did Jesus hope the disciples would do in the garden? Have empathy for his turmoil? Encourage him in his terrible journey to nothingness. He had no guilt. It was the shame that was so awful.

Was it shame that caused Judas to hang himself? (Matthew 27:1-10) Suicide, according to Brown, is correlated with shame and not with guilt.

Shame IS correlated with: Anxiety, addictions, aggresion Bullying Crime Depression, disease Eating disorders Suicide Violence Guilt is NOT correlated with the above.

The bleeding woman. (Mat 9:20; Mk 5:25; Lk 8:43-44) Does not want to be identified in public. Her malady was not because of guilt—something she had done, but because of shame—something she is. She will touch his garment un-noticed. She is healed. Why does Jesus expose her? (Not magic but faith, shame is healed when we speak it aloud.)

The Prodigal son comes home thinking like a slave or a servant but his father wants him thinking like a son. To do this the father has the robe, the ring, sandals and a feast to end all feasts. This was to be the antidote for his shame based servant/slave mentality. The father wants him to think like the son he is!

The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4) Implication of drawing water at noon! Rejection and threats by the village women. Jewish man: reminds her of her inferior state Jesus’ listening and talking to her gives her value through empathy. Antidote for her shame.

The Woman taken in Adultery (John 8:1-11) (Monica Lewinski tells of her shame that made her vulnerable to Clinton’s attention.) Shame of nakedness. Terror of stoning. Realization of shame. NO one values her Jesus gives her worth with words and body language. He bends down, gets to her level, and writes . . . Go and sin no more: “Stop sinning by not listening to your negative voices the source of your shame!”

Antidote for shame:

Empathy Recognizing the value of the person

The cross is the guarantee that our sins are forgiven. What remains to be dealt with is our shame. The robe of Christ’s righteousness deals with shame. This robe gives us worth, value, a new self-image and positive self-talk. (We are always unworthy of grace but we have worth since we are made in God’s image) We often think that we are threatened by God’s holiness when it is our own self-judgment which judges us & condemns us because of our shame.

Worth and Value

“I not longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” (John 15:15 NLT)

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 for his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 and since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:14-17 NLT)

5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. (Galatians 4:5-7 NLT)

I salute you fellow heirs of the kingdom. Think as becomes who you are in God’s eyes. God counts you worthy to be his royal child. This means you are of royal blood. A princess or a prince of the realm. Be who you are in God’s mind!


Shame producing statements: "You idiot, why did you do that?," "Can't you do anything right?" “You should be ashamed of yourself,“ “Pull yourself together.” “Don't be a baby," “Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about," “You don't have anything to be afraid of." “Who do you think you are?" “You're too big for your boots.“

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