Bad Shame

Having said that, undue shame is a horrible thing. Shame that persists wrongly is not good. This would include, for example, shame for a sin that was committed against you. Victims often feel shame for sins that their oppressors should feel shame for. In such situations, shame is doubly perverted; where it should be absent in the psyche of the victim, it is overactive, and where it should be present with a vengeance in the psyche of the oppressor, it is altogether absent.

Another kind of undue shame is that kind that hangs onto sins that have been truly confessed, repented of, and forgiven by Christ. This kind of shame, while it may feel pious, is actually dishonoring to Christ. It cheapens his blood and essentially says that Christ’s atonement is not sufficient—it needs to be supplemented with wallowing shame. So, the opposite of shame is not shamelessness; the opposite of shame is a humble gratitude for forgiveness. Now, it’s easy for me to say that in the abstract—“let go of the shame for the sins that Christ has atoned for and cleansed you of”—but practically, this is easier said than done.

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