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The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. — 2 Corinthians 7:10

Most people think that the words guilt and shame mean the same thing. But in fact, they are very different, and they bring different outcomes in our lives.

Guilt is what Paul called “godly sorrow” because it’s the feeling we get when we’ve done something wrong.

God uses guilt to bring about repentance in our lives.

Repentance means that we agree with God and have come clean about our mistakes. When we repent, we are telling God we don’t want to continue doing something unpleasing to Him and are asking Him to help us stop. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but it does mean we have taken action to be right with God.

Shame, on the other hand, is worldly sorrow. Shame says there is something wrong with us. Sometimes we heap it on ourselves; other times it’s put on us by others. Shame is unlike guilt in that it doesn’t lead us to repentance. Instead of drawing us closer to God, it causes us to walk away from him. Shame says, “You’re not good enough.”

When we do the wrong thing, God’s Spirit will convict us of our wrongdoing. He will lovingly guide us back to a relationship with Him. Once we repent of our sin, he forgives us and the guilt goes away. Christ died for that sin. He covered it. We don’t have to hold on to it anymore and feel ashamed.


Lord God, thank You for showing me how to deal with the guilt in my life. And thank You for showing me that shame has no place in my relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional by John Baker, Johnny Baker, and Mac Owen, copyright John Baker, Johnny Baker, and Mac Owen.

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Your Turn

Have you been haunted by shame? Have you heaped it on yourself? Have others piled it on you? Remember that shame is never from the Lord. He never says, “You’re not good enough”. He says, “I laid down my life for you because you are so valuable to Me!” Today, let’s kick shame to the curb and take our guilt to the Lord and ask Him to wash us clean. Join the conversation on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily