This past Sunday, as we continued our study in the book of Acts, we saw the apostle Paul on trial before the Roman governor named Felix. Paul was falsely accused and charged with being a trouble maker.
No doubt we have all had situations where we were falsely accused. We had to deal with the lies, and maybe even the shame, associated with those lies. Our speaker, Devin Madrigal, made a few suggestions to help. He urged us to identify the lies and shame and then to cast them onto Jesus, knowing His grace will be sufficient.
It was a good message and very applicable, and it got me to thinking about the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is that feeling that I did something wrong. It focuses on my behavior, and ultimately, if I indeed take responsibility for my actions, it can lead to repentance and forgiveness.
Shame is tougher to deal with. It is also a feeling (an emotion), but shame focuses on self, not on the behavior. It deals with how we appear to ourselves and to others. Guilt might say, “I did something bad. I made a mistake,” but shame would say, “I am bad. I am a mistake.”
We need to cast both emotional responses onto our Savior.
As we consider our guilt and the things that we have done to break God’s law, we need to think about the phrase Jesus uttered from the cross: “It is finished.” What is finished? The payment for our sin, the covering for our mistakes, the penalty for our transgressions was paid in full. Our response should be incredible gratitude for that grace. We need to humbly repent, cast it all at the foot of the cross and keep going in His mercy.
And dealing with our shame requires a fundamental adjustment to our mindset. We are definitely sinners, but we have been made in the image of God. You and I might do bad things, make poor choices, choose sin, but ultimately, we have the imprimatur of our Savior; we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27).
And as one old preacher said, “God don’t make no junk.”
So, this week, if you happen to be struggling with some particular sin, and its accompanying guilt and shame, remember to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
And repeat after me, “God don’t make no junk!”
Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.