The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Shame

The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Shame

Protect me! Rescue my life from them!
    Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.Psalms 25:20(NLT)

Every day we encounter two different kinds of shame and it’s critical that we know the difference.

There is a type of shame that is normal and healthy. For example, if I lose or break something that belongs to someone else, I feel disappointed about my mistake. I wish I had not been so careless or negligent. I am sorry, but I can ask for forgiveness, receive it and go on with my life.

Healthy shame reminds us that we are imperfect human beings with weaknesses and limitations. It reminds us that we need God.

Unfortunately, when the healthy shame doesn’t stop there, it becomes unhealthy and poisonous. When a person doesn’t ask for or receive forgiveness, they can punish themselves and start to hate who they are.

Don’t spend your life in this position. Remember your rightful position as an heir and child of God (see Romans 8:17). Unhealthy shame will make you forget who you are in Christ, but healthy shame will remind you that you’re nothing without Him. Today, ask God to help you discern the difference.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I don’t want to live under the weight of unhealthy shame. Help me to remember how much You love me. Because You have forgiven me, I don’t need to punish myself.


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