What Does the Bible Say About Shame?
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What Does the Bible Say About Shame?

Shame. It’s an emotion most of us have felt at some point in our lives. That hot, prickly feeling that makes you want to hide and never be seen again. Shame has the power to cripple us and prevent us from moving forward in life and faith.

But what does the Bible have to say about shame? As Christians, we know that God’s Word offers wisdom, truth, and encouragement for every struggle we face in life. In this post, we’ll explore the topic of shame throughout Scripture and key biblical truths that can help us process shame in a godly way.

The Origin of Shame

To understand shame, we must start at the very beginning—the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, Scripture tells us:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:7 NKJV)

For the first time, Adam and Eve felt shame and wanted to hide their nakedness. This shame was a direct result of their sin of disobeying God’s command.

The feeling of shame exists because we, like Adam and Eve, fall short of God’s perfect standard. Shame can actually serve a positive purpose—it alerts us when our actions don’t align with who God created us to be. But while appropriate shame can keep us from sinning, toxic shame goes too far and tells us our worth is tied to our actions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shame originated after the fall when Adam and Eve sinned and realized they were naked.
  • Shame can serve a positive purpose to alert us to sin, but toxic shame says we are worthless based on our actions.

Biblical Truths About Shame

Scripture offers powerful truths that help us process shame and reject toxic shame from defining us. Let’s explore key verses and passages related to shame:

1. Shame originates from sin, not from God.

While God may discipline us when we sin, He does not shame us. Shame is not part of God’s perfect design for humanity:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 NKJV)

Toxic shame has no place in God’s loving presence. We do not need to hide in shame from the One who knows us completely and loves us unconditionally.

2. Jesus paid the price for our shame on the cross.

Jesus willingly took on the shame of human sin so that we could be set free:

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)

When we accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, we no longer need to carry toxic shame. Jesus paid it all!

3. Our identity comes from being made in God’s image, not our sin.

Even when we fall short, we are still made in the image of God and loved by Him:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27 NKJV)

When shame makes us feel worthless, remembering we’re made in God’s image helps us find our true worth and identity.

4. We can take thoughts of shame captive and make them obedient to Christ.

Shame often begins in our thinking, but we have the power to reject those thoughts:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

One tactic is to combat shaming thoughts with truth from Scripture that reminds us of our identity and worth in Christ.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shame comes from sin, not God. God disciplines but does not shame.
  • Jesus took our shame on the cross so we can be free.
  • Our identity and worth come from being made in God’s image.
  • We can take shameful thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

Overcoming Shame Through Faith

Living free from shame requires more than just knowing biblical truths—it requires personal faith and perseverance. Here are some ways you can move past shame into freedom:

1. Confess your specific sins and areas of shame to God.

Bring your shame into the light through confession instead of hiding it away:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16 NIV)

Remember that God is always ready to forgive us when we repent:

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 NKJV)

2. Receive God’s complete forgiveness and redemption through Christ.

Don’t just ask for forgiveness—actively receive it by faith:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV)

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, knowing He has fully paid for your forgiveness and freedom!

3. Renew your mind with truth from Scripture about your new identity in Christ.

Replace shaming thoughts with truth from God’s Word:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Meditating on verses about who you are in Christ will rewire your thinking over time. Some key identity verses include:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 – In Christ you are a new creation
  • Ephesians 1:5 – God adopted you as His child
  • Colossians 3:12 – You are chosen, holy, and dearly loved

4. Walk in community and accountability to break shame’s power.

Bringing shame into the light in safe community removes its control over you:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16 NIV)

Find a small group, pastor, or Christian counselor you can open up with regularly for support.

5. Remember your worth comes from Jesus’ love, not your performance.

Let Jesus’ unconditional love, not shame, motivate you to obey:

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV)

Your worth is based on who God says you are, not your works. Let His love empower you!

Key Takeaways:

  • Confess specific sins contributing to your shame.
  • Receive Christ’s complete forgiveness by faith for freedom.
  • Renew your mind with Scriptures about your identity in Christ.
  • Walk in community and accountability to break shame’s power.
  • Find worth in Jesus’ unconditional love, not performance.


Shame is a common human struggle with its origins in the Garden of Eden. But Jesus came to set us free from sin, shame, and condemnation! As you walk in repentance and faith, God’s Word promises you are a new creation in Christ. You are fully loved and accepted by the Creator of the universe.

May the truths in this post help anchor your heart when shame threatens to overpower you. You have a victorious identity and future in Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him, walk in the freedom He purchased for you, and rise above every shaming thought that tries to steal your joy. With Christ’s power at work within you, you can live empowered by His love every single day!

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.