Should Christians Feel Shame and Regret About Their Sins?
Written by T.M. Gaouette | August 16, 2015
Hey ladies, when you sin, do you feel shame or guilt? Is there an ache in your heart whenever a memory of that sin surfaces? And if there is, is that feeling okay? Is it healthy?
Well, in understanding shame or regret, we need to understand where these sentiments come from. In most situations, they are sentiments that follow actions that we are guilty about. And it’s those actions that determine whether the feelings of shame or regret are justified.
There is such a thing as unjustified shame or regret. This occurs when we look at ourselves and feel bad. Maybe we’re not happy with our looks. Maybe we’re overweight or underweight, or we don’t fit into society’s standards when it comes to beauty. And so in these instances, we hide our faces and we avoid people in general.
Then there’s such a thing as justified shame or regret. This happens when we do something that is wrong. We commit an act that is immoral and goes against God’s law. And so we feel bad about it and wish that we had never done it.
Justified shame keeps us holy. Sounds weird, right? But when we feel bad or shameful about something, we are more inclined to look for forgiveness from our Lord and repent. We do this because our shame is too much to bear and we need to make good on the thing that we did wrong.
In the instance of justified shame, it is good to feel shame and regret because it often leads us to a better place. If we don’t feel these things, we continue on in our sin. We should feel shame and regret because these feelings help us look for hope. They help us avoid making the same mistakes again.
Of course, after confessing sins and repenting, we need to let those feelings go. If we don’t, these emotions will lead to destruction and pain. This is when even justified shame and regret become dangerous and sit parallel with unjustified shame and regret. Those feelings will ultimately hold us back and keep us in darkness.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
We can’t allow ourselves to become consumed by any shame or regret, whether justified or unjustified, after we’ve asked for forgiveness and repented. We need to hand those sentiments over to the Lord and know that He has redeemed us and cleansed us. We are free from the bonds of these feelings, and therefore we should stand in the light and use our past for good. We should remember those past sins in a manner that allows us to remain committed to our promise to turn away from our sin, and to live a better and more holy life.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)
Ladies, are you holding on to shame and regret? Share your story. We love to hear from you.