God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).

Thursday, June 6, 2024

3 Ways to Overcome Guilt and Shame


by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta

 Ever since Adam and Eve took one bite of fruit humans have dealt with guilt and shame.

God warned Adam.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:15-16 NKJV)

Since Eve wasn't created yet, Adam had to give her God's commands.

Everything was too perfect. The devil inhabited a sly creature so he could mess things up. The words God said were not enough for the first couple to trust Him. The serpent’s subtle whispers carried more weight to their minds than what their Creator told them.

The temptation to know everything sucked Adam and Eve into the trap.

Through mercy, God brought the skins of a slain animal to cover the guilt. Shed blood reflected forgiveness.

But the shame continued. Their minds probably ran away with the accusations that came from the mouth of their tempter. “You are bad.” “Look at what you did.” “The human race is doomed because of you.”

This is what the devil does. He tempts and then when we give in, he accuses and condemns us.

What is the difference between guilt and shame?

Guilt connects to what we do. Guilt says, “I did bad.”

Shame is tied to who we perceive we are. Shame says, “I am bad.”

God gave us a conscience so we would know right from wrong. But once we repent, He doesn’t want us to live in guilt and shame.  

Guilt pricks us due to a wrong behavior. Our conscience tells us something is wrong, and we need to change.

But after we receive forgiveness shame can remain if we don’t live in our righteous identity in Christ.

Shame can lock onto the mind and condemn us for the behavior that has been forgiven. Shame can cause addictions because the person seeks to medicate the pain of past sins.

The Bible shows us 3 ways to overcome guilt and shame.

1. Focus on forgiveness instead of the sin. We admit we are guilty sinners, but because of the blood of Jesus, we don’t stay that way. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

2. Dwell in the presence of Christ. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine neither can you, unless you abide in Me (John 15:4).

3. Change the way we think. Agree with who God says we are. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Our true identity is not dependent on our behavior. A born-again person’s identity is based on what Christ did, not what we do. Despite our sinful actions, we are a new creation in Christ in our spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our soul (mind and emotions) must remain focused on the Word to cleanse us from wrong beliefs so we will live according to the change in us.

Shame is not our identity. We are righteous in our inner being.

Living in a sense of shame is not the same thing as being referred to as shameless.

“Have you no shame?” is directed toward those who continually commit evil acts.

What they really are is conscience-less. They aren’t embarrassed by sinful behavior. Sometimes they flaunt it. God gave us a conscience to direct us from right and wrong. Even a person who is not born again has a sense of good and evil unless they continue to ignore the nudge and their heart grows hard. The conscience no longer directs. Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).

Jesus left the Holy Spirit on the earth when he ascended to heaven. He is called the Comforter for a reason. He comforts, He does not condemn. He shows us the way, He does not shame us.

A victorious life depends on knowing who we are in Christ. There is no room for shame or guilt because it has been dealt with at the cross. Our place is to receive that truth and become free.  If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).

Only the truth we know sets us free.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.


3 ways to overcome guilt and shame 3 ways to overcome guilt and shame (click to tweet)

Jesus left the Holy Spirit on the earth when he ascended to heaven. He is called the Comforter for a reason. He comforts, He does not condemn. He shows us the way, He does not shame us. (click to tweet)



  1. Barbara-Your distinction between “I did” and “I am” is key. Your three points are life-giving.

    1. This is a lesson I had to learn. Once we get this revelation, it does make a difference in our lives. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  2. Thank you for the reminder of the distinction between guilt and shame. I also had to learn this lesson. I'm so thankful for the mercy and forgiveness we receive through Jesus. Thank your, Barbara.

    1. Where would we be without His mercy? What a Savior we have. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Katherine. Blessings!

  3. Things to contemplate in this blog. I appreciate the Bible verses which anchor every emotion! Thank you.

    1. The word does give us much to contemplate. Thanks for sharing, Sylvia. Blessings!

  4. Amen! We were darkness, God's enemies, and sinners separated from God, dead in our sins. Now we are Light, children of God, and saints with eternal life. We still stumble. But the righteous get up again, and His blood continually cleanses us. Hallelujah, what a Savior!!

    1. Yes, Debbie, we are light now and not in the darkness. When we stumble we don't stay down all because of the victory the blood of Jesus won for us. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  5. When I taught young children and they misbehaved, teachers made sure that correction focused on the behavior and not the person. Some children get the idea they are bad because of their behavior. This might be because of terminology their parents used or maybe it's an innate trait, but such feelings can follow us into adulthood.

    Your suggestions for us to overcome shame and guilt are spot-on. We have to realize, though, that overcoming is an on-going process and not a one-and-done action.

  6. Candyce, I wish all teachers had the same approach you used. That would make a lot of difference in how children see themselves. You are right-this is an ongoing process. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  7. Yvonne Morgan6/14/24, 10:17 AM

    “Shame is not our identity. We are righteous in our inner being.“. I loved this message. What a perfect way to sum it up. Thank you Barbara. I needed to be reminded of this today.

    1. I neeed this reminder often, Yvonne. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  8. Amen Ms. Barbara. While God will always convict us of our sin, He has never once shamed me. Instead, He leads me to want to right my relationship with Him. What a terrific post, ma'am. THANK YOU!

  9. I'm thankful for Roman's 2:4 that tells us the goodness of God leads us to repentance. Thanks for sharing, J.D. Blessings!