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Shame in the Bible – 30 Bible Verses About Shame & Guilt

dating & relationships Feb 19, 2022

What does the Bible say about shame, guilt, and regret?

If you are feeling shame or feeling guilty, you are not alone my friend. The Bible has a lot to say about shame and guilt, and there are several stories of shame in the Bible that teach us how to deal with shame.

If you want to learn what the Bible says about guilt and shame, here are 30 bible verses about guilt, shame, and regret, including:

  • Bible verses about shame
  • Examples of shame in the Bible
  • Women who experienced sexual shame
  • What does the Bible say about guilt
  • Bible verses about guilt and regret
  • Examples of guilt in the Bible

We also discuss examples of sexual shame in the Bible, and how to surrender this shame to God.

What Does the Bible Say About Shame?

The Bible has a lot to say about shame. When you think of shame in the Bible, it’s most commonly used to describe a feeling of shame associated with sin or a wrongdoing.

While guilt makes us feel wrong for something we did, shame makes us feel bad about ourselves as a result of sin.

Shame says that we are unworthy, or that we aren’t good enough, and that we deserve to be punished for our sin.

When we experience shame, we can try and hide our wrongdoing instead of confessing it and receiving God’s forgiveness.

The Bible also talks about shame in the context of feeling embarrassed about something, whether it’s associated with sin or not.

For example, many scriptures about shame address feeling ashamed of Jesus, meaning embarrassed to be seen with Him, or embarrassed to stand up for the gospel.

And as we see in the examples of shame in the Bible discussed below, shame was most often seen as a public display of sin or wrongdoing to make a person feel bad for their sin.

There are several scriptures in the Bible that don’t explicitly mention shame or guilt, but demonstrate God’s love, grace, and forgiveness when we are feeling shame or guilty.

God does not want us to feel shame—he wants us to receive his forgiveness and grace when we surrender our sin to him.

If you’re feeling shame from sin or something you did that was not in line with God’s Word, pray these Bible verses for shame and let God’s peace wash over you.

Bible Verses About Shame – When a Person Feels Shame

Psalm 103:10-12 NLT

“He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

God does not deal with us as our sins deserve. This is one of my favorite Bible verses about shame that reminds me that God loves me, and that he has removed the sins from my past.

Romans 8:1 NLT

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Jesus does not shame or condemn us, rather, he came to free us from the power of sin in our loves, and he came to sacrifice himself from the judgment from our sins.

Zephaniah 3:19 NLT

“I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed.

The ESV version says ‘I will change their shame into praise’.

God does not want us to be disgraced from our sins. He wants to change our shame into praise.

He sent us Jesus so we don’t have to feel disgraced from our sins and wrongdoing.

With Jesus, we can rejoice and praise God because we have been forgiven and because Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 NLT

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."

In order to be free from shame, we have to learn to forgive ourselves. God has already forgiven you, and he wants you to forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up for what you did.

Hebrews 8:12 NLT

“And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

When we seek God’s forgiveness, he no longer remembers our sins. All we have to do is repent and ask for his forgiveness, and God no longer remembers our wrongdoing.

This is another one of my favorite Bible verses about shame since it reminds me that God will never again remember my sins.

If God doesn’t remember my sins, why should I continue to remember my sins from the past?

Psalm 103:3 NLT

“He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.”

No sin is too big for God to redeem. He promises to forgive ALL our sins, and heal ALL our diseases.

I had a sexual past before I gave my life to God, but thanks to power of Jesus, he forgave my sins and broke ungodly soul ties from past relationships.

John 3:17 NLT

“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

We see that God never intended for Jesus to judge or condemn us for our sins. Jesus saved us from our sin so we can walk in freedom.

Acts 3:19 NLT

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.”

The ESV translation says, ‘Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”

When we repent from our sin and turn to God, he wipes away our sin. He blots it out and remembers it no more.

It’s like he takes a white-out marker and blots out the sin and mistakes we’ve made. He no longer sees our sins.

Colossians 2:13-14 NLT

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”

When you give your life to Jesus Christ, your old life gets buried. You become a new creation in Christ, and he forgives all your sins.

I love this verse because it talks about how Jesus cancelled the charges against you because of your sin by nailing it to the cross.

Jesus already paid the price for your sins on the cross—there is no need to keep thinking you deserve to be punished, or that you need to pay God back for your mistakes.

Isaiah 43:25 NLT

“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again."

When we confess our sins to God, he blots out our sin. We don’t have to feel ashamed of our sins, because God has forgiven us.

Isaiah 1:18 NLT

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool."

Once we’ve confessed our sins to God, we don’t have to carry the shame and guilt anymore. God sees us as purified, as white as snow.

Other Bible Verses About Shame

There are several other Bible verses about shame that address feeling ashamed of Jesus, or feeling shame and disgraced from sin.

Psalm 35:4 NLT

“Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.”

In this context, David wanted God to bring shame and disgrace on those who were trying to kill him.

Genesis 2:25 NLT

“Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”

Genesis 3:10 NLT

“He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.””

We first see shame in the Bible when Adam and Eve sin. In Genesis 2:25, it says that they had no shame before God because they hadn’t sinned yet. But in Genesis 3:10, Adam and Eve tried to hide from God because they felt ashamed of their sin.

Shame causes us to hide our sin from God and from others.

But as we see in the bible verses about shame above, God does not want us to feel shame. He wants us to come to him and accept his forgiveness.

Luke 9:26 NLT

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”

If we are ashamed of Jesus and God’s truth, Jesus will be ashamed of us. In today’s world, we cannot be embarrassed or ashamed to represent Jesus.

If we are embarrassed to be associated with Jesus, he will be ashamed of us.

When I first surrendered my life (and sex life) to God, I felt a bit embarrassed that I was going to wait until marriage to have sex again. But I learned how to stand strong for God's truth in dating, even when it came to kissing before marriage.

Romans 1:16 NLT

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.”

As a disciple of Christ, we cannot be ashamed to spread the truth and power of Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:14

“If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.”

Sometimes shame in the Bible was meant to publicly embarrass those who refused to walk in God’s ways.

Examples of Shame in the Bible – Biblical Stories About Shame

There are several stories of shame in the Bible. No matter what you’ve done in the past, or how ashamed you are feeling, I pray these stories of shame and disgrace bring you hope that God can and will forgive and redeem whatever you’ve done in your own past.

Woman caught in adultery

In John 8, we see Jesus interacting with the woman caught in adultery.

The Pharisees and teachers of the religious law brought the woman in front of a crowd and wanted to stone her according to the law, but they asked Jesus what they should do. (They were trying to trap Jesus into saying something that they could use against him.)

Jesus responds with wisdom, and challenges them to let the person who has never sinned throw the first stone. They all then slipped away one by one, because they realized they had all sinned and fallen short of the law.

But Jesus’ response in John 8:10-11 NLT to the woman caught in adultery is significant in seeing what God has to say about shame.

"Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”"

Jesus makes himself clear—he does not condemn the woman for her sin, and he tells her to go and sin no more.

As we can see in this example of shame in the Bible, Jesus does not want to publicly shame or disgrace us. Rather, he wants to bring us to repentance and forgiveness so we can receive his grace.

Peter denies Jesus three times

In Matthew 26, we see that Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples denies knowing Jesus three times. Jesus even predicts that Peter will deny him three times before the rooster crows at their last supper, but Peter claims that he will never deny Jesus.

Peter does end up denying Jesus three times, and realizes his sin when the rooster crows.

“Immediately a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Can you imagine the shame and guilt Peter must have felt? Jesus was already arrested at this point, and Peter left him and denied Jesus when he needed him most.

But Jesus himself restores Peter after Jesus rose from the grave.

In John 21, we see that Jesus restores his relationship with Peter when they are having breakfast on the beach.

Peter knows he sinned by denying Jesus, but we see here that Jesus forgives Peter’s sins, and loves him enough to wipe away his shame and guilt from denying him.

Women that could have felt sexual shame, but chose to accept God’s forgiveness

We live in a world where there is a lot of sexual shame associated with sexual sin, and in the Bible, there were many examples of women who most likely overcame sexual shame.

Rahab

In Joshua 2, Rahab was a prostitute who chose to put her trust in God to save her and her family.

She could have let her sexual shame from her past hold her back, but instead, we see that God used her to save a few Israel spies and chose her to become part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.

The woman at the well

The woman at the well in John 4 also likely experienced sexual shame from her past. Here she is, a foreign woman who has had 5 husbands and is living with someone who is not her husband, and she runs into Jesus at the well.

But instead of condemning her for having 5 husbands and living with a man who is not her husband, Jesus reassures her that she is forgiven.

Instead of letting her sexual shame hold her back, the woman at the well runs into town and shares her testimony, resulting in many others in her town believing in Jesus.

Gomer

In Hosea 3, Gomer is a prostitute who went back into prostitution even after her godly husband rescued her and married her.

Gomer likely experienced a lot of sexual shame as well, but God used her and Hosea’s story to show the love of God for us, even when we turn back to our sin.

No matter what we’ve done, or how many times we’ve done it, God is there waiting for us to turn back to him.

If you are struggling to resist temptation from sexual sin, download my free, 7-day resisting temptation devotional for prayers and Bible verses to declare when you feel tempted.

What Does the Bible Say About Guilt?

Guilt in the Bible is often used when a person has not confessed their sins or wrongdoing to God.

When we sin, we feel guilty because we are aware that we’ve done something wrong.

Guilt should bring us to God to confess our sins and receive his forgiveness.

Bible Verses About Guilt and Regret

1 John 1:8-9 NLT

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

If we try and deny our sin, we will only continue to feel guilty. We cannot hide sin from God—he already knows what we did. And he calls us to confess our sins to him so that he can cleanse us from all wickedness.

When I first established a relationship with God, I tried to pretend that having sex before marriage wasn't a big deal. But I couldn't ignore the guilt that I felt. If you're struggling to understand God's design for sex, learn why having sex before marriage is a sin.

Hebrews 10:20-22 NLT

“By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”

Jesus already paid the sacrifice for our sins. When we turn to God and ask for his forgiveness, we no longer have to feel guilty.

This is one of my favorite Bible verses about guilt, because Jesus washes our guilty conscience with his blood that he gave up for us.

Leviticus 5:17

“Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin.”

Isaiah 6:7 NLT

“He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.””

Another one of my favorite Bible verses about guilt—we see that God wants to forgive our sins and remove our guilt.

2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT

“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”

God does not want us to have any regrets from our past when we turn to him and seek his forgiveness.

Isaiah 43:18-19 CSB

“Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?”

God tells us not to remember the past. He does not want us to hold on to our regrets from the past, rather, he wants us to focus on the new things he is going to do in our lives.

When we focus on the regrets from our past, we miss out on what God wants us to do in our future.

If you have struggled with sexual sin in the past, learn what God says about purity and dating in these Christian dating books and purity books for women.

Philippians 3:13-14 NLT

“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Another example of regret in the Bible, where God urges us to forget the past and focus on what lies ahead, which is the life Jesus has called us to live.

Examples of Guilt in the Bible

Below are a few examples of guilt in the Bible. King David’s prayers to God after his affair with Bathsheba demonstrates how we are supposed to surrender our guilt (and our sins) to God.

And we see how Moses experienced shame and guilt after murdering an Egyptian.

King David’s affair with Bathsheba

In Psalm 51, we see King David crying out to God to forgive him for his sins. In 2 Samuel 11, we see that David had an affair with Bathsheba. She got pregnant, and in an attempt to cover up his sin, David ordered for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, to be murdered in battle.

Psalm 51:1-2 NLT

"Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin."

Psalm 51:7 NLT

"Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."

Psalm 51:9 NLT

"Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt."

These Bible verses about guilt in Psalm 51 are the scriptures that I come back to when I’m feeling guilty or ashamed of something I’ve done. David had sinned, but he knew God would forgive him and would remove his guilt. He knew that only God could purify him from his sin.

This is King David we are talking about here—who is known for his heart and love for God, and for restoring Israel.

Yet even King David fell short and sinned.

King David’s heart in Psalm 51 shows us how we can turn to God when we feel guilty for our sins, and how only God can purify us and wipe away our sins.

In Psalm 32, we can compare David’s reaction after God forgave him, and after God took away his guilt. Scholars believe that Psalm 35 was written after David received God’s forgiveness.

Psalm 32:1-5 NLT

"Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone."

We see in this example of guilt in the Bible, that when we confess our sins, we can trust God to forgive us and to take away our guilt.

Moses kills an Egyptian

In Exodus 2, Moses grew up living with the Egyptians, but sees an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrew slaves. After looking in all directions to make sure nobody was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.

But the next day, when Moses sees two of his fellow Hebrew men fighting, he asks why they are beating each other up.

One of the man replies, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?”

In Exodus 2:14-15 NLT, we see how Moses responds to being caught.

“Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did.” And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian.”

Moses was guilty of killing someone, and he fled to Midian.

Can you imagine how ashamed Moses must have felt?

We don’t see Moses’ confession to God in the Bible, but in Exodus 3, we see God appear to Moses to send him to save the Israelites in Egypt.

Moses questions whether he is the right person to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but God reassures Moses that he will be with him.

After killing the Egyptian, Moses could have let the shame from his sin hold him back from being used by God, but he must have confessed his sin at some point to God and accepted his forgiveness.

FAQs – Shame in the Bible – What Does the Bible Say About Shame?

How do you deal with regret and guilt in the Bible?

In Psalm 51, the Bible tells us to confess our sins to God and that God will blot out the guilt from our sins.

“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.”

When we confess and turn from our sin, we no longer have to carry the guilt or regret from our sins.

Experiencing guilt after sin or wrongdoing is intended to bring us to God for forgiveness.

How does the Bible deal with shame?

The Bible encourages people to confess their sins and receive God’s forgiveness. Jesus came into this world not to shame or condemn us from sin, but to save us so we can be free from our sins.

We also see that shame in the Bible was intended to publicly expose the wicked from their wrongdoing, or make them feel ashamed of their sin so they repent and turn to God.

What Bible verse says do not let me be put to shame?

Psalm 25:2 ESV says ‘let me not be put to shame’, and that ‘none who wait for you shall be put to shame.’

In this Psalm, David is putting his trust in God, and declaring that God will not put him to shame.

Other translations, like the NLT version, says ‘do not let me be disgraced.’

Where in the Bible does it talk about regret?

Isaiah 43:18-19 and Philippians 3:13 address how to handle regret in the Bible.

In Isaiah 43, God calls us to forget the past and to focus on the new that God is going to do in the future.

In Philippians 3, God again emphasizes looking forward to what is ahead instead of dwelling on the regrets of the past.

What the Bible says about shame and disgrace?

In Zephaniah 3:19 NLT, God says that we will not be disgraced anymore and that he will change our shame into praise.

“I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed.

God does not want us to be disgraced from our sins. He wants to change our shame into praise.

With Jesus, we can rejoice and praise God because we have been forgiven and because Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins.

Do you want to resist temptation from sexual sin?

Overcoming sexual sin and shame is possible. Learn how to resist temptation with this free, 7-day resisting temptation devotional.

With Love,

 

 

 

 

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