What is shame?
It’s an important question to ask, especially if we’re going to talk about it time and again in the devotionals. The dictionary definitions usually say something about humiliation. That’s an aspect of shame, but it’s also a bit deeper than that. Our friend Dale Ryan draws a distinction between guilt and shame by saying that guilt is the sense that I’ve done something wrong whereas shame is the sense that I am inherently wrong. Our identity is grounded in our insufficiency. I think that would be an accurate definition. Shame is the deeply rooted sense that we are wrong (morally and otherwise), unacceptable, and unworthy of love.
It’s easy to see why this might be damaging. But is it always wrong? It’s easy to say yes…but I want to dig a little deeper.