What Does the Bible Say About Shame?

What does the Bible say about shame? This is the first of a six-part study guide for my book Healing the Hurts of Your Past . You can also download the podcast version.

Let’s start by laying out a biblical foundation for shame.  Shame could really be used as a motif or a framework to read the entire Bible. It goes like this…

What does the Bible say about shame?

God created the world and it was very good. In fact, it was AMAZING. And get this…God created men and women IN HIS IMAGE (See Genesis 1:26-29). You can take that to the bank and close the book on shame right there. Really, what more do you need to convince you of your worth? To deny YOUR worth would be to deny God’s worth and that’s not even possible.

what does the bible say about shame?

What does the Bible say about shame?

The Naked Truth

In Genesis 2:25 it says that they were NAKED and UN-ashamed. The word “naked” means so much more than “not wearing clothes”. After all, they had no concept of clothes. So “naked”  had to mean that nothing was hidden. They were totally vulnerable. Nothing was held back. How many relationships do you have like that?

Glory Lost

But then Adam and Eve chose to disobey and that was a GAME CHANGER. It was like they let the air out of the balloon. Suddenly they looked at each other and felt naked. (See Genesis 3:7). Something had to visibly change with them. I think they previously radiated a glow…a glory. But that disappeared. So they grabbed for anything they could find to cover themselves… to hide the loss of glory.

I speculate this to be true because after Moses spent time on Mt. Sinai with God it says that he radiated the glory of God (see Exodus 34:29-34). When the glory faded Moses COVERED HIS FACE to hide the fact that he lost the glory. Hmmm…sounds familiar.

Hiding is the essence of shame. You cover up your imperfections because you believe  they disqualify you from engaging with others. You present a false self, an imposter, just to fit in. As a result all your relationships are superficial never fully connecting in intimacy and never producing the joy that only intimacy can offer.

The rest of the Bible is about recovering lost glory…overcoming shame and regaining their God-given value.  It isn’t until Jesus comes on the scene that humanity regains their glory. Jesus says to his Father…I have given them the glory that you gave me (John 17:22).

Glory Regained

Flashback to the creation story when God created us in his image… once again God shares his glory with his human creation.

What this means is that our value doesn’t come from our daily performance (what have you done for me lately?). It is conferred upon us by God. It’s a gift. You can’t earn it and you can’t lose it.  Once you believe this and let it really sink into the depths of your soul you will be FEARLESS. No one can take this away from you. No foolishness on your part can disqualify you from it.

I think this is one of the BEST MESSAGES in the Bible.  This is “shout it from the housetop” kind of stuff.  If you think so too then maybe you can at least click a link below and share it with a few friends!

Download the radio interview podcast here.

Question: What questions do you have  about what the Bible says about shame? Leave your question or comment below.

  • You were made for glory (andrewejenkins.wordpress.com)
  • Defining the Pain of Shame (readingremy.com)
  • Seven Reasons Why Every Leader Needs to Understand Shame  (readingremy.com)
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12 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Say About Shame?

  1. Cathy

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been reading your posts. As things seem to happen in my life, this came at a perfect time when I was ready to learn.
    Cathy

  2. mdetweiler

    I absolutely agree that the essence of shame is hiding our true self and presenting an imposter to the world because we believe our true self is so hideous and unlovable. I also agree that the Bible is the story of God trying to heal our shame by loving us with pure, unconditional love. Further, I believe (and have experienced) that the path to healing shame lies in our willingness to risk revealing our true selves to non-shaming people who know God and will help us to see ourselves as God sees us.

  3. Bobbi Graffunder

    I am really looking forward to what you and Mark will be doing. I have been trying to download the book for my Kindle, but I am having problems. Hopefully I am the only one! 🙁

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Glad to have you join us Bobbi. Download the file to your computer. Then transfer the file to your Kindle via the cord they give you that hooks to the USB plug. That should do it.

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