Shame is a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace. It is often seen in one that brings dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation to themselves and/or others.
Shame is different than guilt, which is covered in some detail previously. Shame usually is a feeling, or a conscious awareness that one’s very person is not good enough, flawed, worthless. It is the experience of feeling thoroughly embarrassed at ones very core. Shame can be healthy if there is indeed something that has been done wrong by the person, and the answer for it is confession, repentance, and if necessary restitution. However, the problem often seen in counseling is in working with someone with inappropriate shame (overwhelming shame over minor things, or things they in fact did not do or were not responsible for, such as the victim of abuse) or too little shame (for a sociopath, such as a criminal or drug addict with no sense of responsibility for one’s behavior). In either case, reality is what is needed, or an honest appraisal, in light of the word of God, of the behavior of the individual. It is important not to maximize or minimize shame, but lead the client to resolution of it beginning with an honest appraisal or diagnosis of the person in light of the word of God.
The Word of God:
“Just as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.”
“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Hebrews 12:1, 2
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”