Spiritual Guilt and Shame: Causes and Effects

causes of shame and guilt

Let’s talk about spiritual guilt and shame.

Specifically, what factors cause them? How do they affect our state of being? But the best part is, how can we deal with them?

Let us know what the Bible says.

What Are The Causes?

Insecurities

“No one is perfect” – we all know and accept that. We have personal flaws that make us insecure.

Take, for example, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality. With any of these, we misplace attraction toward the same or opposite sex. As such, we go through a gender crisis.

What does the Bible say about this?

According to 1 Timothy 1:10 (ESV), “homosexuality” is “contrary to sound doctrine.” With this, we find ourselves guilty before God.

Darling sins

Admit it or not, each one of us has guilty pleasures or what we call “secret sins.” It may be in the form of greed, lust, addiction, envy, or jealousy.

Too much love for food is an example. Unfortunately, it is against the biblical principle of temperance: “But I discipline my body and keep it under control” (1 Corinthians 9:27, ESV).

Also, lust is a mortal sin. It results in sexual urges that may lead to adultery and covetousness. These acts are a transgression of God’s law in Exodus 20.

Eventually, according to Romans 8:6 (ESV), when flesh governs the mind, it leads a person to death. However, when the Spirit dwells in him, there is life and peace.

Broken relationships

We, humans, are social beings. Because of this, relationships such as family and friends serve as our core. When any of these ties break, we end up in major trouble.

For instance, in a romantic breakup, the one at fault usually takes the guilt. But even the victim feels shameful knowing that he just failed a relationship.

Meanwhile, Colossians 3:18-25 (ESV) has counsel for family members. That is, they should love and obey each other.

Why?

“For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done.” And “there is no partiality.”

Seriously?

For someone coming from a broken family, that passage sounds like a dreadful consequence or punishment. Hence, he feels like he owes his life to God.

How Do They Affect Us?

We feel unworthy of forgiveness.

Because of guilt and shame for our sins, we feel unworthy of divine forgiveness. We think that there is no more hope. Worse, we believe that God is already done with us.

As a result, we doubt ourselves and our potential to change. Also, our self-esteem decreases. It makes it difficult for us to relate with other people.

Isolation serves as our escape.

Spiritual guilt and shame make us think that God won’t accept us anymore. Also, we feel like the world is against us. It’s as if no one cares about us.

As such, we detach ourselves from things and people. By doing so, we get a sense of escape from the problem.

Depression and anxiety haunt us.

When we spend time alone, depression and anxiety are difficult to resist. It’s because, during this state, everything in our minds is negative.

Even the happiest memories can’t make us feel better. The burden is so heavy that the mental state is at a bottomless pit.

With this, we develop a fear of the future and life at large. Even more, we get anxious about heaven or hell.

We suffer from a mental disorder.

Depression and anxiety result in a mood swing. That is, we go through sudden changes of emotion.

Also, we are likely to develop trauma. The pain and memory of the past bother us because we can’t easily erase them. As a result, it’s not easy to accept the current situation.

Worse, it affects our personality and behavior. For instance, we become paranoid about the things and people around us.

He tends to punish himself.

According to Ezekiel 18:20 (ESV), “the soul who sins shall die.”

Isn’t it frightening?

With this, guilty as we are, we think that life is not worth living anymore. After all, we will die. So why not end life once and for all?

How Can We Escape From Them?

Acknowledge sin.

Acceptance is the first step towards change. That is, we must acknowledge that we have done wrong to God or a person.

By doing so, we let go of our past and start anew.

Come to God and confess everything.

“Come to me, all who labor and are [heavily] laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, ESV). What a comforting assurance from God, isn’t it?

So, let’s take the opportunity to confess it all upon Him.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13, ESV).

More than a friend, God is always willing to listen. He is ready to forgive a repentant sinner.

Ask for the Holy Spirit.

After confessing our sin, let’s ask for the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 (ESV) states, “Repent…for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit convicts us whenever we encounter temptation. As such, we can overcome sin.

Turn away from sin.

In our human efforts, we can never win over sin. Only through the power of God can we stand victorious.

For this, Romans 12:2 (ESV) reminds us not to conform to the ways of this world. Instead, let God transform and renew our minds.

Abide in Christ.

Spiritual change is not only for a day or two. Instead, it is a lifestyle of developing a mature relationship with Him.

With this, John 15:4 (ESV) tells us, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”

So, let us remain connected with God.

We Want To Hear From You

Did you find this article insightful? If so, what have you learned? And what are your takeaways? Let us hear from you.


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