Pressing Past Guilt and Shame

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Apologetics, Evangelism

How do you feel about yourself? Are you peaceful and free to enjoy your everyday life? Or do you feel guilty about something in the past that you can’t change?

I used to live with a constant feeling of guilt and shame because of the sexual abuse I experienced in my childhood, and I grew up feeling like something was wrong with me. I often thought, There has to be something wrong with me for my father to want to do that to me.

The shame of being sexually abused was devastating, and it became toxic in my heart and mind. I wasn’t just ashamed of what had been done to me or what I’d done—I became ashamed of myself. And that poisoned everything else in my life. It took me a long time to realize that most of the problems I had—the personality issues and unhealthy relationships—stemmed from the fact that I didn’t like myself. God wanted me to love myself—not in a selfish, self-centered way, but in a balanced, healthy way based on His love for me. Because the truth is, you can’t give away what you don’t have. And if you don’t receive God’s love for you and the mercy He freely offers, then you won’t be able to love yourself or anyone else.

I remember being in church, hearing messages about loving people the way Jesus loves us, and I wanted so badly to be a loving and kind person. I tried and tried to be different, but if you don’t have God’s love and mercy in your heart, no amount of trying will make a bit of difference. In fact, it will just frustrate you because the more you try, the more you will end up making mistakes and feeling guilty about it.

Romans 8:1 (AMP) says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].” But until we get a revelation of this truth and see ourselves as forgiven and free from sin because of what Jesus has done, we will continue to believe we are guilty and that we have to do something to earn God’s love and forgiveness. And there’s nothing we can do—no amount of trying in our own effort or strength—to earn or deserve His love.

That’s why it’s so critical for us to understand that Jesus died for us so we can have a relationship with God, not a religion. When God showed me that I couldn’t love anyone else because I didn’t love myself, it didn’t seem right or feel right to love myself. Religion had taught me that it was good for me to feel bad about myself and to beat up on myself when I made mistakes.

It felt “right” to make confessions like, “I’m just a poor, miserable sinner” rather than believe the truth of God’s Word about who I am in Christ. But as I got serious about my relationship with Him and began studying the Bible, I realized that who I am “in Christ”—my identity as a born-again believer in Him—is amazing!

Here are just a few truths that have radically changed my life:

I am a new creation—the old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17)!

I am the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

I am chosen by God, forgiven and made right with Him through Christ (Rom. 8:33).

I have a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12).

When you know who you are in Christ, you realize that while you still make mistakes sometimes, you are not just a poor, miserable sinner. When you put your faith in what Jesus has done for you, His Spirit comes to live in your spirit, and the nature of God dwells in you. This doesn’t entitle us to be proud, arrogant people who think we’re better than others. There’s a big difference between who you are in Christ and who you are in and of yourself. It does mean that when we sin, we can repent with genuine sincerity, turn away from sinful behavior and attitudes, trust that God loves us and forgives us, and move on.

We don’t have to stay stuck in the shame and guilt of our past, whether it’s because of something we’ve done or what someone else has done to us. We can be free—in Christ—to shake off guilt and condemnation and grow little by little, one day at a time, into the people God has created us to be!


Joyce Meyer is a New York Times’ best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has written more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind. She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.

CHARISMA is the only magazine dedicated to reporting on what the Holy Spirit is doing in the lives of believers around the world. If you are thirsty for more of God’s presence and His Holy Spirit, subscribe to CHARISMA and join a family of believers who choose to live life in the Spirit. CLICK HERE for a special offer.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Believers Can Work Together to Restore Pre-COVID America

How Believers Can Work Together to Restore Pre-COVID America

On April 16, 2021, I traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the request of a local business leader, Clay Clark. He asked me to speak at a conference focused on ending the COVID lockdowns. Clay is a business coach and entrepreneur who'd seen his clients' businesses devastated...

What Is Your Prophetic Warning?

What Is Your Prophetic Warning?

God wants to anoint you with His grace through your unique prophetic wiring to impact the body of Christ in the place He has called you! He will do that in as many diverse ways as there are people, personalities, and gift mixes across the face of the earth. I cannot...

The Lord Says, ‘It’s Payback Time’

The Lord Says, ‘It’s Payback Time’

If you’ve been following any of my recent posts, you’re probably aware that my husband and I are selling the property we’ve lived on for the past 21 years and buying a ranch. Interestingly, we have also been led to engage in three other real estate transactions at...

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

My longtime friend Mario Murillo is providing a critical role in the body of Christ in speaking up against the wolves in sheep clothing. Matthew Henry said, "A traitor inside the camp is more dangerous than 1,000 persecutors outside the camp." Christians want to be...

RECENT ARTICLES

Do You Need A Miracle? It’s In Your Mouth!

So many people are in need of a miracle these days. So many people are experiencing lack, illness and despair. So many of these people are Christian people that are bewildered as to why they are...
Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Sodom and Gomorrah were real cities and real people lived there. These were notoriously sinful cities that God warned but eventually destroyed because of their wickedness (Gen. 19:24). These cities, infamous for their debauchery and homosexuality, are mentioned 23...

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

Are you bugged by a guilty conscience … carrying around baggage from a certain mistake or decision that produces feelings of regret or even self-loathing? We’ve all said or done things that we wish we could take back. And while it’s completely natural to grieve over a...

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

Christian married couples, like everyone else in the world, can have their ups and downs. The pressures at work, home and family can mount a pile so high you barely see your spouse on the other side. God created marriage and He longs for you to have a healthy,...

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

I saw a movie several years ago about an Amish community. In the movie, when someone needed help (whether it was a crisis, a barn raising or help in harvesting their fields) they would ring a large bell. Within minutes, the community would appear in all directions,...

Did Mr. Rogers Warn Against Transgenderism?

Did Mr. Rogers Warn Against Transgenderism?

While he may not have realized it at the time, Fred Rogers, otherwise known as "Mr. Rogers" on the children's television program "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," may have been anti-trans and also prophetic about the culture in America more than 40 years ago. A devoted...

Pin It on Pinterest