In this series we’ll look at some of the struggles that we have that we endure silently, secretly. We struggle secretly and alone. What does God’s Word say to us in our darkness and trouble?
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
There is an important distinction between guilt and shame. Guilt is when you feel bad about something you did. Shame is when you feel bad about who you are.
It can happen in life that an unaddressed guilt over something you are doing turns into general shame about who you are. You feel so bad about the guilt that you have let it become part of who you are. Perhaps you have a secret sin that would bring shame if people were to find out about it.
It is not a good feeling to live with guilt. It is even worse to live with shame. God does not want either to have control over you.
Whether you know it or not, guilt and shame have the power to control your life. The longer you hide them, the stronger they become. So when guilt begins its work on your conscience, and when shame begins to take hold of your identity, pause to think about the significance of what Jesus did for you.
He was already punished for the guilt you are feeling. He already made it so that your identity has nothing to do with your sin. Who you are was determined by his victory over sin and death. You are God’s loved child.
You will not fully appreciate that as long as your sin is an unconfessed secret. Secret sins give birth to guilt, and guilt gives birth to shame. The longer you let it grow, the stronger it will become. But you have One who is stronger than any guilt or shame you can experience. His name is Jesus, and he is armed with enough mercy and grace to overcome what you have been hiding.
Would you be honest with yourself today if you have been holding onto a secret sin? Confess it. Talk to Jesus about it, and trust that he will respond with mercy and grace. If you want, you can use a prayer like this:
Prayer: Dear Jesus, the reason you came to this world was to release me from sin’s consequences. I believe that you died and rose again to do that. Would you help me today to stop letting sin reign over me? Give me your forgiveness for my hidden sin. Give me strength to overcome it so that I can live in the peace that you want to give. Thank you also for surrounding me with friends and family who care and can help me too. Amen.