How Can I Get Rid of My Shame or Guilt?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

E veryone feels guilty at some point, but we don’t have to live with shame or guilt, so how do we get rid of our shame and guilt once and for all?

All Are Guilty

Everyone feels guilty at some point, but we don’t have to live with guilt, so how do we get rid of our shame and guilt once and for all? I know dog’s feel guilt…as I’ve found them with the evidence around him that he was guilty. He knew he’d done wrong, so the dog went out of sight and lay down in a corner. So even animals feel guilt, at least our pets do, so what do we do about the guilt? The wisest man living at the time, King Solomon, stated as fact, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Eccl 7:20). He is surely right because God’s Word is always true. Job asked the rhetorical question with the obvious answer being “no one,” when he said, “What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous” (Job 15:14)? Job’s point is that no one born of a woman (meaning all of us!) can be righteous. Only Jesus, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, could not sin, being as He is God.Sorrow, depression

None Righteous

We have no ability to make ourselves righteous before God. It must come through Jesus Christ’s own righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). The Apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear, even quoting the Psalms (Psalm 14:1; 53:1; 143:2). If the holy men of old and the holy Apostle Paul considered themselves sinners (1 Cor 15:9; Eph 3:8; 1 Tim 1:15), what does that make us? This makes us the same thing…sinners! If we say we’re not sinners anymore, then we’re actually calling God a liar (1 John 1:8) because in fact, we are sinners (1 John 1:10). We’re also lying to ourselves because God’s true Word says that “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom3:10).

None Good

I believe Paul said “No, not one” because there’s always that one who thinks they are the rare exception, thinking “I’m not a sinner anymore.” Sorry, you’re wrong, because “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom 3:12). I am sad for people who think they’re not sinners anymore because I know Jesus came to die for sinners…sinners like me. He didn’t come to die for the (self)-righteous. Our Lord said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Until you repent and put your trust in Christ, you will never rid yourself of the guilt…the shame of standing before God with only your filthy-rags righteous works (Dan 12:2-3; Rev 20:12-15). That’s a terrible place to be with no way out. If you trust in Christ, your guilt before God is paid for by the shed blood of the Lamb of God, slain even before the earth (and we) existed (Rev 13:8)!

Confess it to God

If you are a believer, you can come to the Father at any time and confess your sins to Him. God’s promise, and He cannot lie (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18; 2 Tim 2:13), is, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Notice it says “all unrighteousness,” and not most of it or 95% of it…it’s all atoned for in Christ! He will cleanse us if only we come to the Father through Jesus the Son. Confess it to God and its gone! Whoever covers their sin, God will expose it; but whoever exposes their sin, God will cover it…by His grace and mercy. There’s no more need to sweat it! It’s done…forgotten. Now, are our standards of forgiveness greater than God’s? They are if we fail to forgive ourselves after God’s already forgiven us, so “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1). What God has covered, don’t uncover. What God’s buried in the grave of forgetfulness, don’t be a grave robber! It’s forgiven and a lesson learned…now move on…guilt free and shame free.

Confess it to Others

If you are still living with shame or guilt from something you did to someone or said to someone, then why not humble yourself and go to them privately? I can promise you that you’ll feel better after confessing your sin to the person you offended or sinned against. It clears the air and helps you move forward, but it takes humility and a willingness to be honest with God and honest with others about our faults and shortcomings. We are all sinners, so we can’t expect perfection, but we should confess our sins and apologize to those we’ve sinned against and do so immediately (James 5:16), but of course, first and foremost is our need to confess them to God. What happens if they don’t forgive you? Then that’s on them! That’s now their problem and it’s between them and God. You have done what you could so the rest is up to them. If they fail to accept your apology, then they need to repent of that and confess it to God. You’re slate is clean. There’s nothing more you need do. God sees you have done your part by humbling yourself; now it’s on them to do the same.

When Satan reminds you of past sins, remind him they’re forgiven!


Share the gospel of God and that gospel must include the fact that that unless they repent and put their trust in Christ, they will live with shame and guilt for all eternity. They are under the wrath of God in fact. Daniel the Prophet wrote about those who did not believe in God and their final judgment, and it would not be a few, but “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2). Don’t let yourself be among them. Instead, I plead with you, to be in the second group that Daniel mentions and that you will be one of “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan 12:3). No one need go to a place of eternal torment with no possible escape (Luke 16:26). Put your trust in the Son of God today (2 Cor 6:2) and embrace His forgiveness and have all your shame and guilt absolved forever. That is my prayer, now as I write this, for all who will read this.

Here is some related reading for you: How to Overcome Feeling Regret and Shame From Past Mistakes

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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